County EMS restricts Red Bud service

In its last regular meeting before finalizing a budget for fiscal year 2023, the Monroe County Board of Commissioners approved several action items during a relatively brief Monday morning meeting. 

Monroe County Ambulance Director Carla Heise discussed changes to her department’s practice of providing non-emergency medical transport for Red Bud Regional Hospital patients.

In the past, Monroe County EMS would provide transport services to patients in Red Bud for medical appointments in Monroe County or those being transferred to a Monroe County long-term care facility. 

EMS supervisor Jason Nonn explained the increase in service calls and increase in county population over recent years has periodically led to longer response times or unavailability of Monroe County EMS vehicles during simultaneous medical events in the area.

Heise noted an increased demand for emergency medical personnel during the current industry-wide shortage has resulted in increased requests for non-emergency transport from Red Bud, a service Heise no longer thinks Monroe County can provide.

“The goal is to keep as many trucks in the county as possible,” Nonn said of the change in practice.

Commissioners agreed. 

“Things change through the years. They just need to accept that,” Commissioner Vicki Koerber said.

Monroe County State’s Attorney Lucas Liefer suggested reviewing the EMS department’s official policy and sending a written copy to Deaconess Health, which   had recently finalized the purchase of four Southern Illinois hospitals – including Red Bud Regional Hospital. 

On a positive note, Heise reported positions for full-time Monroe County EMS personnel is on track to be full by the end of the month, although she added the department is still working to manage a significant lack of part-time personnel.

In other business, commissioners approved a “rough order of magnitude” for document scanning services for the county’s zoning and building department.

Monroe County Zoning Administrator Chris Voelker explained the process would provide secure digital copies of about 2,200 documents as well as clearing space in two courthouse rooms.

The services would be performed through Exela services, the same company who digitizes documents for the Monroe County Clerk’s Office.  

Voelker said the “rough order” was not a bid per se, but a “worst case scenario” based on an approximation of documents to be processed.

The board approved the request to begin the process in an amount not to exceed $58,381.59.

The board also approved the annual request by Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger to allocate money from the county’s motor fuel tax to fund the county engineer’s salary.

Metzger also gave the board an update on the price of salt. He noted the salt used to treat roadways during winter weather is $82-$86, a 15 percent increase from last year and nearly double that of the cost from winter 2020-21.

With the consolidation of the Monroe-Randolph Regional Office of Education to one office location in Red Bud, commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Randolph County Board for facility use.

Liefer added there is a stipulation that Monroe County would receive 50 percent of any proceeds  from any future sale or rent of the ROE building, which is owned by Randolph County.

Finally, commissioners approved a four-year union contract agreement between the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Fraternal Order of Police.

Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said the raises for personnel would be 3 percent for the first year and 4 percent for the remaining three years of the current contract.

The next meeting of the Monroe County Board will be at 8:15 a.m. Nov. 21 in the Monroe County Courthouse.   

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Scott Woodsmall

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