|UPDATE 11/27/2017 - Minnie Hamilton CEO Steve Whited has officially advised the Calhoun Commission that his facility will no longer provide public ambulance service to the county starting January 1.|
Commissioners Westfall and Helmick have been working for months to acquire a new provider, so far without success.
The problem is the lack of finances.
Even private providers have not been interested in stationing one ambulance with crew in the center of the county to answer 911 calls.
"We are struggling to come up with a solution, even a temporary one," said Commission President Chip.
Whited told the commission that MHHS could not financially continue the service, but would provide their own transports to regional facilities, and would "support the county's needs for EMS, when available, in the form of mutual aid capacity."
Whited said MHHS stepped-up to the plate last June when ESP Ambulance unexpectedly terminated service, but can no longer finance it.
MHHS had sub-contracted the service to the private agency.
Calhoun is joining a large number of rural WV counties struggling to provide public ambulance service, a crisis created by lack of funds in a cash strapped counties.
Already the county is stretched to provide funding and benefits for the few county employees and basis services, with future tax income from a proposed compressor not likely to be received for about two years.
The Emergency Services Levy is on the May, 2018, but currently provides only a fraction of operating costs.
"Ambulance service is among the most important services we provide our citizens, and it looks like we need around $250,000 to provide some basic service," said Commissioner Kevin Helmick.