This year is starting out very busy. Our projects are moving along. I am still hopeful for a March opening for animal control.
I hope to work this year on a system for quantitative analysis of the Atascosa volunteer fire departments responses by each VFD, how that load is distributed across the county and how we formulate the county’s financial contribution. It also has been pointed out to me that our contracts with the VFDs need a fresh look. This falls under the purview of Todd Perna, Atascosa County Fire Marshal so he will carry the load on this project. He does a fine job and will be a tremendous help. Fire protection is obviously something that is very important to each of us. We need to evaluate how we interface with the cities on this issue. It has apparently been a while since this has been done and Fire Marshal Perna is very much on board to proceed with the project. I will be working closely with him on this issue.
Another extremely important issue is the Atascosa County Emergency Medical Service. ‘Bo’ Dugosh, the new EMS Director will routinely be bringing to commissioner’s court numbers on the ambulance calls throughout the county and type of call. We want to develop this information by sector and EMS station so we have a good idea of where our demand is and how well we are doing.
We are adding a “Community Service Paramedic” who will freelance on calls that do not appear life threatening. We often have EMS (911) calls because someone’s catheter has come out, their bandages need changing, they have fallen out of bed or something similar. Sometimes it is an issue where the family / patient is unsure about the need to go to the emergency room. We can dispatch the “Community Paramedic” and that person can evaluate, fix and/or address the situation. If hospitalization is needed then he/she can dispatch an EMS Ambulance to make an emergency run. This was an idea presented by Jimmy Day before he retired and one I agreed was worth trying. This may frugally (compared the cost of an EMS station) address a way to extend the reach of every station. We will still charge the insurance of the patient for the service. This process will keep the EMS station ready to run for a life – threatening emergency. If this works, we will evaluate and possibly expand the program. ‘Bo’ will be implementing this program.
I intend, over the next year or so, to visit with every city to develop an interlocal agreement so that everyone is paying their fair share to underwrite the cost of the critical function of the county EMS. We are very fortunate to have the EMS we do. Many rural counties do not have anything. I want everyone to realize this is not to be a cost borne by the county alone in a rural county such as ours.
Your county does a lot for you and we want to do it well!Thanks for listening.
We want you to be proud of your County Government..
Bob Hurley is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org