Special Meeting Minutes 1/3/2022

Author: City of Minneola/Monday, January 10, 2022/Categories: General News, Minutes

MINNEOLA CITY COUNCIL MEETS                                    January 3, 2022

The Minneola City Council met in special session January 3, 2022, in the Civic Connection. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m., with the following council members present: Carol Tedford, Marvin Jensen, Shawn Conard, Wesley Orr, and Dustin Laudick. Mayor Carol Sibley presided over the City Council.

The purpose of the special meeting was to meet with Clark County Commissioners and Minneola District Hospital Board to discuss, as a group, EMS concerns.

The Minneola District Hospital called their special meeting to order.

Jim Daily, Clark County Commissioner, advised those present that the County Commissioners were not calling a special meeting and they were there individually to listen.

Gail Norton, MHC Board President, and facilitator for tonight’s meeting, started the meeting with opening remarks. Gail stated that Deb Bruner, CEO of MDH, previously met with the County Commissioners and Minneola City Council about EMS concerns. The EMS situation has continued to get worse since the meetings and Minneola EMS volunteers are stating they will resign unless corrective action is taken. The EMS service directly involves patient care and the hospital. We need to remember that the EMS service for Clark County is not two separate services but one. The meeting today is to express concerns, why we are here, discuss problems, and if any steps have been taken to resolve the issues.

Deb Bruner addressed the boards. Deb stated that she spoke with the commissioners on October 6 with concerns that the hospital had about EMS and the EMS team in Minneola. After the October 6 meeting, a joint meeting was scheduled, but the Minneola EMS volunteers could not attend due to it being scheduled during the day and the meeting has never been rescheduled. Deb has two additional concerns, first, that there needs to be an on-call schedule made in advance and secondly, when the state is to be contacted over EMS performance. Someone needs to listen to the concerns from Minneola. Minneola is part of this county and if solutions are not found, Minneola will be left with no coverage. There have been times when there has been no response for MDH transfers and this provides stress on the providers who have to wait with the patient. How do we recruit for MDH when we have no guarantee on EMS service? Come January 12, we may not have service on the Northern half of the county. We must have a collaborative working service and the Commissioners need to recognize that this is a real and serious situation.

Gail asked the County Commissioners if anything has taken place since the October 6 meeting, and there was silence.

Gail stated that some ideas have been mentioned to the Hospital Board: Should there be two EMS directors instead of one so that the director can be onsite and local? Should we look to outside services or partner with someone? Should there be a professional hired to evaluate the EMS service?

Deb asked the Commissioners if a third-party individual could be brought in to evaluate the EMS service, which would take the emotions out of the issues. She has someone available that could come out in 2-4 weeks and cost around $5-7,000. Jim Daily asked who this person was, and Deb responded that she would not disclose that information at this time, but the person has the capability to do the survey. With the Commissioners not being a convened meeting, they could not answer the question.

Deb continued with mentioning how difficult it is to find a bed for a COVID patient right now and if a bed is found, they cannot wait 2-3 hours for a transfer crew. We need a reliable service. We have volunteers, but due to protocols, will not volunteer and put their license on the line at this time. COVID is not going away, and people are dying due to protocols.

Deb asked the Commissioners if the protocols have been reviewed since the October 6 meeting and if anything has happened? The commissioners were silent.

Deb questioned the Commissioners if they were willing to participate in this meeting or not? The Commissioners were silent for period. Jim Daily spoke up and stated the protocols are being reviewed but have not fully been developed but they are being addressed.

Deb responded that it has been 3 months since the October 6 meeting and the protocols are still being reviewed? Come January 12, we may not have any EMS service left, we don’t have 3-6 more months to wait.

Gail Norton addressed the Hospital Board and City Council that we need to convince the volunteers to stay on the service until the issues are fixed. We are all here to try and help solve the problems. We need to know if the items being discussed tonight will be reviewed and resolved by the Commissioners? When is the next Minneola EMS Class?

Jennifer Denison, MDH Board member, stated that this not only puts a strain on Minneola, but also Ashland volunteers when they have to come to Minneola for transfers. She addressed the Commissioners asking, why is it so difficult to practice and communicate and change protocols and change systems? There were no comments.

Mary Lou Warren, Minneola citizen, asked if the EMS volunteers in the room would please stand up and thanked them for their service. There were 5-10 people stand up.

Jim Daily spoke up and stated that Minneola problem was that people just don’t want volunteer.

Patrick Williams, EMS volunteer, addressed the commissioners stating that he is resigning from the service effective immediately due to Jim Daily’s comment. He stated that the volunteers of this service care about the citizens of Minneola. The Clark County EMS medical director is not even a resident of Clark County or even a resident of the state but resides in Colorado. Minneola EMS just got his phone number 2 weeks ago.

Dr. Shawn Conard commented that he had volunteered for the EMS Medical Director position for free, but the Commissioners elected to pay someone out of state.

Jennifer Denison stated that due to all the pomp and circumstance, citizens will die because of the County Commissioners.

Dr. Shawn Conard acknowledged that 3 weeks ago he called Meade EMS to cover a transfer.

Carol Sibley, Minneola Mayor, responded that we are all people/humans in this county. We need to work together. The County Commissioners need to make some decisions and something needs to happen.

Dr. Shawn Conard stated that we have started calling Eagle Med, Life Team, and other counties for transfers before calling our service. Then calling our service, being asked, did we call anyone else first. We are very grateful for the Ashland crews that have responded, but it still is a 45-minute wait time for their crew to arrive. This meeting should never have had to take place. The EMS director and EMS Medical Director should be working with EMS and provide full services for the County.

Carol Sibley stated that we are asking for help. The EMS has to go through the County Commissioners and there has to be communication to the EMS team. It has been 3 months, since the October 6, meeting and it is now critical. EMS volunteers from Ashland and Minneola have to be part of the conversation and solutions. We have to deal with their issues and concerns, otherwise we are not fixing the underlying problems.

There was conversation about why the joint meeting, that was previously cancelled, was not rescheduled. Deb Bruner stated she requested the rescheduling of the meeting back on October 29. She then gave an example of an EMS problem concerning a volunteer that was turned into the state but was not notified that that had happened until receiving a call from the state. The EMS Medical Director didn’t even call the volunteer to discuss the issue until 12 days later. We don’t have months to find solutions. Deb asked the Commissioners when they would discuss the issues?

Jim Daily responded that the issues and protocols would be looked at this Wednesday during the regular County Commissioner meeting and that a formal letter will be presented to Deb Bruner. They agreed to do this by e-mail. He stated that the Commissioners are not against getting the issues resolved.

A citizen spoke up and asked why if this was brought to the Commissioners back in October, why hasn’t a letter already been issued? It was also stated that the joint meeting has to be held during the evening because most volunteers already have full time jobs.

Dr. Shawn Conard asked for the Commissioners to look at the Ford County protocols. Ford County has the closest higher level of care that we interact with. He also mentioned that a lot of the volunteers already work with the Ford County protocols every day. One phone call is all that it would have taken to get up to date protocols and we would keep our volunteers. The County Commissioners and EMS Medical Director could have approved them and then this meeting would not have been needed.

Dianna Beebe, MDH Board Member, asked why this phone call couldn’t happen tomorrow?

Dr. Shawn Conard stated that volunteers are the life blood and MDH needs them. We have to run a service. Time is critical.

Bill Baker, MDH Board Member, expressed that all we are asking for, is to update the system. If part of the solution is only phone call away, why not make the call?

Jim Daily asked why Ford County? He was then asked if he had something personal against Ford County. He stated no. Jim then asked why not get the protocols from someone our size.

Patrick Williams confirmed that Ford County protocols cover from A to Z and that Dr. Moffit would be willing to help. Ford County has a higher call volume then we do and see more. Ford County got their protocols from Sedgwick and Johnson Counties who have higher call volumes than Ford County.

Dianna Beebe asked how many years have we had the same protocols and who reviews them? It was answered that the EMS Medical Director is supposed to review them every year. Deb Bruner responded that reviewing them and revising them are two different things.

Deb Bruner stated that COVID has made healthcare change at a rapid pace and protocols have to follow suit. We have to encourage more people to volunteer and keep the volunteers we have. But volunteers have to have job satisfaction and feel appreciated and valued. She asked that the Commissioners meet ASAP.

Howard Wideman, County Commissioner, confirmed that they are meeting on Wednesday, and they will contact Ford County to get their protocols and they will be reviewed. He indicated that Commissioners would help Dr. Shuman and be a resource for him.

Jennifer Denison asked why the medical director is in Colorado when we have available doctors/resources here in the county that could do this? She stated there is a problem with the location and availability of the Medical Director.

Marvin Jensen, Minneola Councilman, asked if the County Commissioners are prepared to have Ashland cover Minneola, if Minneola volunteers resign? He further emphasized that the Clark County Commissioners have an obligation to provide service to all citizens of Clark County. 90 days have already passed (since the October meeting) and the Commissioners have no resolution. The Commissioners cannot be making this personal. The problems must be fixed. The MDH Board and City Council can’t fix this, the County Commissioners have to fix this.

Gail Norton addressed the group and asked what is the path forward? What is the next step?

Jim Daily stated the protocol will be addressed on Wednesday.

Howard Wideman confirmed that the protocols will be reviewed Wednesday if they can obtain them from Ford County. He also noted that Dr. Shuman has to approve them.

Jennifer Denison asked the Commissioners to notify Dr. Shuman tonight and let him know what is going on.

Jim Daily agreed to let the Hospital and City know what is happening on a weekly basis. Deb Bruner suggested a weekly phone conference between the three entities, but discussion did not transpire.

Dr. Shawn Conard expressed that the system is broken and we have to rebuild. Stagnation is easier than change. Let’s get this done.

Deb Bruner conveyed that we need to bring the EMS team into the conversation and process. There are underlying things that have to be discussed. Updating the protocols is great but the trust has been broken and they feel they are not being heard. This is a whole different matter than the protocols.

Jennifer Denison asked for a special meeting take place with the EMS Team and Commissioners. This needs to take place in the evening or on a Saturday with Ashland EMS and Minneola EMS.

Citizen, Mike Kellner, stated that he has a problem being a tax paying citizen for Clark County and his taxes going to a Director who resides out of state.

Deb Bruner asked the Commissioners to verify that Dr. Shuman will have the time to do the work that will be required in the next 3-6 months.

Dr. Shawn Conard asked the Commissioners why Dr. Shuman wasn’t here for the meeting? Jim Daily asked why he wasn’t invited? Dr. Conard’s response was that Dr. Shuman is employed by the County Commissioners and the responsibility would have been the Commissioners or the EMS Director to inform their employee.

Gail Norton asked the Commissioners to communicate with Deb Bruner as to what transpires on Wednesday. Jim Daily assured her that they will communicate with Deb on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. It was also recommended that each Commissioner talk to Deb individually, so no wrong assumptions are made.

Deb Bruner asked what the Commissioners thought of bringing in an outside service to do an evaluation. Howard Wideman said this would be discussed on Wednesday.

Deb Bruner and Gail Norton asked the volunteers in attendance to please stay with the service and we will find a path forward. Deb also asked that the protocol, over EMS individual performance before being turned into the state, be reviewed this Wednesday.

Jim Daily stated that Deb Bruner might not have all the facts in the recent case. Deb conveyed that she met with the individual in person. Jim then asked for a meeting with the County Commissioners, EMS Director, Deb Bruner, and the individual. Deb suggested that the meeting take place tonight since the Commissioners are all here, the EMS Director is here, and the individual is sitting in the room. Jim Daily said that No they could not meet tonight. Deb expressed that the Commissioners must set protocol this Wednesday for performance of individuals and the steps to go through prior to turning them into the state. There must be fact finding first before the state is involved.

Dr. Conard shared that this should be a process of improvement not a process of destruction.

A citizen then summed it up by saying, “Lives are at stake.”

The hospital board adjourned their meeting.

Marvin Jensen made a motion to adjourn the Minneola City Council meeting, Carol T. seconded, motion passed 5/0.

Meeting adjourned 8:40 pm.

__________________________________________

City Clerk

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