11/09/2021 A Voice From the Gallery

You as a patient have the right to tell the ambulance where to take you, and, if they’re able to do so safely, they usually will. However, some ambulances are assigned specific “zones” and are not allowed to transport patients outside of those territories.

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Folks I heard about this impending fiasco, so I went down to see for myself. As you can see from the photo it is true.

It is sad to watch something you helped build be ripped down and stomped into oblivion.

In 1996 after what I believe was a long absence of an Alcester Ambulance, the PA Diane Weber started recruiting to restart our city ambulance.  I remember her coming across the street, asking if I would take the class so we could get an ambulance back in town.  I was a Girl Scout leader at the time and every time I took the girls on a trip out of town, I have to find a nurse or first aider to come with us.  I immediately said yes, I could smite two birds with one stethoscope.  So I took the class.  Our first class was somewhere around 30 people willing and eager to take the training and testing to become EMT’s and bring our ambulance back.  And so began our journey.

As we journeyed through the anatomical systems of the body, wandered through the lobes of the brain, learned signs and symptoms, the treatment of catastrophes caused by trauma’s of all kinds, how to extricate without causing further damage to the patient, how to keep ourselves safe on scene, have situational awareness and EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course)  We had our practical testing which was hands on treatments and then we had the written test.  I had my National Certification as an EMT Basic.  Little did we know that was the easy part.

Now we had to purchase an ambulance because the city had donated the old ambulance to Hawarden, we had to find a place to keep it, radios and pages and equipment. $$$$$  We had limited access to the funds left over from the previous ambulance group, but now we had to raise money to pay for the ambulance vehicle, cots, radios and all the stocking of an operating ambulance.  We were so proud and excited.   Our community backed us all the way, but it was slow going.  It took almost two years and in 1998 we were up and running our own ambulance, but we did it. 

The crew was entirely voluntary.  Some runs over a meal-time we got a quick meal on the ambulance tab.  Some runs we didn’t even make it back to Alcester before we were called out again on an emergency, but we always, always took our patients to the hospital of their choice.  Our rate was $300 load fee, and $8.00 per loaded mile which put a trip to Hawarden at $364.00 and a trip to Sioux Falls at $620.00  Paula handled the administrative action, I handled the books and the laundry when I couldn’t trade dirty laundry for clean at the hospital and Dan handled all the maintenance.

When I left in 2012, we had $250K in the ambulance account.  We were saving our money to be able to build our own ambulance facility because due to HIPPA we were obligated to keep all records secure and confidential plus we needed an upgrade ambulance.

Unfortunately around 2019 I began to get phone calls that an ambulance check had bounced, ambulance payments were very late or insurance companies did not have patient trip billings yet.  I was shocked and embarrassed our ambulance had reached such condition.

I would like to acknowledge the current members of the Alcester Ambulance who have worked hard to get their certification/training and are willing to donate their time to the residents of Alcester.

However I do not condone paying Mr. No-hava no-sense $22,000 consulting fee and taking that money off the top.  Add to that it appears that Mr. No-hava no-sense has promoted a program where the Alcester Ambulance can only transport Alcester residents to Hawarden and IF you do not want to go to Hawarden they just will not show up.  I sure hope that is not the case!  Some lawyer is gonna  make a whole lotta money.

Folks when we took the class we were warned if we did not take the patient where they wanted to go, that would be the equivalent of kidnapping.  If ya’ll took them across the state line, well then that was a federal case!

Mr. No-hava clue, you ranted and raved about me.  I asked reasonable questions after I identified myself, you told me  “…I gotta go, I have an ambulance call…” and hung up.  When I called the Hawarden City Office to ask those questions, is Hawarden ambulance an arm of the city or an arm of the hospital and was the city of Hawarden aware you were being paid a fee of what I believed to $22K consulting fee by the Alcester Ambulance you were busy calling me back.  According to the message you left you managed to resolve the ambulance call within the space of three minutes  So Mr. No-hava-clue do you have an answer for us on how you were hauling in a substantial consulting fee while the City of Hawarden footed the bill of YOUR training.  I had more questions but you just wanted to rant at me, telling me, “…You sit and listen…”  You kept hollering I was wrong!  Well sir, I was trying to get truthful answers to my question.  Like the $22K and you told me, “…it is none of your (Vickie Larsen’s) business…”  I beg to differ with you.  It is my business!  It is the business of my neighbors.