Concerns raised over policy changes at the Barton County Ambulance District

Meeting held to discuss changes
Concerns raised over policy changes at the Barton County Ambulance District
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Update: Late last night Barton County Ambulance District Director Brett Peine confirmed to KOAM that in the closed session of the board meeting the board did adopt the changes to the matrix scoring system and those changes will be implemented immediately.

Concerns over policy changes for the Barton County Ambulance District had some concerned that it could endanger the lives of Barton County citizens. A meeting was held tonight to discuss the current policy, and possible changes.

Brian Lemmons was once the president of the first responders for Barton County but he says after BCAD Director Brett Peine implemented a new national matrix scoring system, he had to step down, because he felt, the policy, endangered lives. Lemmons says “The administration at BCAD has decided that they can put that on a point system, and an individual, a paramedic with a lower scope of practice, can actually tell a physician ‘no’, and that puts not only every patient in our county in jeopardy, it also puts the hospital at risk and BCAD itself at risk.”

Lemmons says he saw that policy in action when his own father-in-law had to wait for a transfer, causing what he says were life-threatening complications. Officials at Cox Barton County say that even they had issues with the system, so they decided to work with Peine to fix it. Dr. Jeremy Sturgell with Cox Barton County, says “We think we’ve got a draft of this matrix that while still addressing some of the safety concerns Brett has, ultimately provides for the transfer of patients so situations that have happened before shouldn’t happen again.”

Peine saying to the BCAD board of directors the new system works hand in hand with Cox Barton County. Peine says “The other things that happened with that revised policy is that it sets in a checks and balance, certain things, and I’m not going to read every one of them to you, will trigger an automatic review not only in the leadership team here, but also in the leadership at the hospital and with BCAD, and on a monthly basis we’re going to meet and go over these things and review and make sure, yea, this is what the hospital saw, this is what we saw, this is how it worked out, what do we need to do to make changes, is it working.”

And hospital officials say they’re behind the changes. Dr. Strugell says “We’re prepared to go forward with the proposal that Brett has and we’re willing to actually come and meet with the board and give updates monthly to let everyone know how it’s going and see that it’s successful and see it through.”

The board voted to go into a closed session following the meeting to discuss the policy changes. There’s no word yet on when they’ll go into effect.

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