Priority Medical TJ Williams North Platte Broken Bow City Council July 14 2020

TJ Williams, Clinic Director with Priority Medical of North Platte, was one of several people who presented information to the Broken Bow City Council July 14, 2020 on a possible partnership of Priority Medical with Melham Medical Center and the city to bring Advanced Life Support ambulance service back to Broken Bow.

Should Broken Bow enter into a partnership for Advanced Life Support ambulance service?

That was a  topic of discussion Tuesday evening at the Broken Bow City Council meeting.

Currently, Broken Bow is served by a volunteer Basic Life Support Service (BLS). If Advanced Life Support (ALS) is needed, a call is made to Priority Medical of North Platte.

Tuesday evening, the discussion was on the possibility of the city entering into a partnership with Priority Medical and Melham Medical Center.

Veronica Schmidt, CEO of Melham Medical Center, and Sherry Amsberry, Director of Nursing at Melham Medical Center, spoke along with Dr. James Smith and TJ Williams, both of Priority Medical of North Platte, and Shane Fiorelli, Broken Bow Police Officer and EMS Captain.

They explained that advantages of partnering with Priority Medical would be that ALS can provide medications not available to BLS, perform invasive emergency procedure, perform and interpret EKG and, if necessary, bypass Melham Medical Center to transport to higher level care if the situation requires it. Broken Bow’s current service is required to transport patients to Melham, regardless if a higher level of care is needed. In addition, a Priority Medical crew would be housed in Broken Bow, drastically cutting down the response time.

All those who spoke lauded the skills and professionalism of Broken Bow’s volunteer emergency responders. Fiorelli said a partnership with Priority Medical could also benefit the volunteer service by providing additional training.

Schmidt said the Melham Medical Center would be responsible for housing the ALS crew. When not on calls, the crew would work on the hospital payroll to assist with the emergency room or other areas of the hospital. Priority Medical would assume the costs of insurance, liability and otherwise.

The City of Broken Bow would be asked to purchase an ambulance, which Priority Medical would outfit, and lease it to Priority Medical. The ambulance would carry logos for the City of Broken Bow, Priority Medical and Melham Medical Center. Smith said a low mileage, well-functioning used ambulance can be purchased for $50,000 to $70,000.

The partnership would include dividing emergency calls between Priority Medical and the Broken Bow volunteer service. Fiorelli emphasized the volunteer service requires a specific number of calls to remain certified. A certain amount of calls would also need to go to Priority Medical to make the partnership feasible.

Broken Bow had ALS ambulance service available in the past. “They left rather quickly,” Amsberry said. “The lack of success was due in part to the fact we didn’t partnership with them.”

Mayor Sonnichsen emphasized that this is discussion only at this time. No timeframe for approving the partnership was given.

Check out next week’s Chief July 23 for more on the discussion.

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