County OK's Software for Emergency Medical Services
New Emergency Medical Services computer software is expected to streamline EMS operations and improve quality of patient care.
That's the reasoning behind a mandate from the North Carolina EMS office that led the Moore County Board of Commissioners to authorize the purchase of $200,320 in EMS Patient Care Reporting Software from Zoll Data Systems during a Nov. 6 meeting.
Financial Services Director Lisa L. Hughes told the commissioners at its Nov. 6 meeting that the county received four bids for the contract, but two bids did not meet county specifications. Zoll offered the lower bid.
The board also agreed with the recommendation that the county Information Technology (computer) staff be authorized to price hardware for implementation and support of the new system.
Hughes said funds are available in the EMS fund and are part of the EMS strategic plan. The county recently implemented a new EMS billing process.
Public Safety Director Scot Brooks advised the board that Zoll is a Colorado-based company that has an office in Raleigh.
The new system is also expected to assist EMS with staffing and time reporting for better management of staff resources and to implement mobile data systems in ambulances.
Board Chairman David J. Cummings, a veteran rescue volunteer, observed that the new system should serve as a time-saver for paramedics.
In other business, the commissioners approved a nonemergency medical transport agreement with FirstHealth of the Carolinas Inc. The board gave initial approval at a January meeting, and the Nov. 6 action completed the agreement following appropriate legal reviews.
The contract enables FirstHealth to provide transport for patients needing medical attention that is not an emergency, such as dialysis patients with regular treatment appointments. The county's EMS will continue to provide emergency service.
Also at the Monday meeting, the commissioners approved revisions to the county telecommunications policy incorporating cell phone reimbursement for eligible employees.
IT Director Chanda S. Cole reported that the county now provides about 160 cell phones for eligible employees at a cost estimated at $3,600 a month. She predicted that the county can save up to $1,300 a month by transferring eligible employees to the new program.
Cole said she considered several sides of the issue in reaching her recommendation, including the availability of personal cell phones, phone number confidentiality, and multiple cell phone providers and coverage in Moore County.
Research included information collected from N.C. Department of Transportation and a number of counties and municipalities, including Cary, Richmond County, Fayetteville, Asheville, Durham, Forsyth County, Dare County, Rowan County and Henderson County.
A public hearing was held on submission of an application by Moore County Transportation Services for Community Transportation program (MCTS) funding through the N.C. Department of Transportation's Public Transportation Division.
MCTS Director Timothy W. Thompson reported that the application is for $211,893 for administrative costs and $507,982 for capital expenditures. MCTS operates a transportation system under contract with county agencies and nonprofits.
No one signed up to speak during the hearing, and the board gave unanimous approval to the application.
The board also voted to call two public hearings for the Nov. 20 meeting. One public hearing will consider adoption of the 2006 N.C. Residential code and its appendices replacing current building codes in accordance with the N.C. Department of Insurance Codes Council. The other hearing will consider changes to the fee schedule for applications for wireless communications facilities. Both hearings were requested by the Department of Planning and Community Development.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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