Calhoun County commissioners heard a proposal to add a fourth EMS crew during a budget workshop Thursday, July 11.

EMS Director Dustin Jenkins said the staffing addition would consist of one two-person team per shift to manage the ambulance due to an increase in calls and number of patients.

In addition, Jenkins discussed total utilization of resources (TUR), a number he has tracked since October 2018, and the problems that it can create for the EMS service.

Total utilization of resources is “when all resources are out on calls including myself and the assistant director…basically, there’s nobody home,” he said.

So far in 2019, 241 TURs have occurred for both the central and south stations. That breaks down to 173 TURs at Central and 68 at the South station.

“This is causing service delays,” explained Jenkins.

In the first six months of 2019, there have been 41 service delays due to the total utilization of resources.

An aging population, as well as a new nursing home preparing to open in Port Lavaca, will also be a drain on current resources due to transfers taking an ambulance out for the duration, explained Jenkins.

Jenkins put together a yearly age demographic that showed the population of those aged 85 and older was 170 in 2017, 163 in 2018 and 205 in 2019; ages 74-84 was 189 in 2017, 197 in 2018 and 241 in 2019; 65 to 74 was 190 in 2017, 239 in 2018 and 259 in 2019; and 45 to 64 was 173 in 2017, 203 in 2018 and 235 in 2019.

Long-distance transfers in 2019 have totaled 75, and in 2018 totaled 113. In the first six months of 2019, 69 transfers were involved in total utilization of resources.

Over the first six months of 2019, 35 TURs resulted from long-distance transfers alone.

Jenkins explained that these transfers are usually from one hospital to another in places such as Houston and San Antonio. Also, the TUR can affect the timing of a transfer of a trauma patient.

“There is a window that the doctors need to have a trauma patient transferred,” he said.

He also noted that nursing homes calls were likely to increase when the new nursing home opens. “They expect to be full within the year and capacity is for about 130 patients,” he said.

Jenkins also did a calls-per-unit comparison to other agencies. These statistics showed that Calhoun EMS handled 3,258 calls per year with three units at 1,086 calls per unit with an average call time of 1:02.56. Jackson County saw 2,776 calls with three units at 925 calls per unit with a similar call time. Refugio County handled 1,300 calls with 2 units at 650 calls per unit with a similar call time. Goliad County handled 800 calls with 1.5 units for 533 calls per unit with a similar call time. Cuero County handled 2,350 calls with 2.5 units at 940 calls per unit with a similar call time.

“That’s one of the problems of living in a rural area,” said Commissioner Vern Lyssy.

Calls to motor vehicle accidents were down in 2019 despite what Jenkins termed “The Formosa 500.” In 2018 the EMS responded to 113 motor vehicle accidents. He did note that getting across the causeway did create issues for the ambulances due to congestion and people on the shoulders.

“I would consider putting a crew on (the Point Comfort side) due to the traffic,” said Jenkins.

“That would be your call,” said Lyssy, adding that he appreciated the statistical information that was provided to the court to back up the request.

Commissioners’ Court

The court met Wednesday, June 10, and took the following action:

Conducted a public hearing on amending the calendar year 2019 Calhoun County budget.

Amended the county’s Culvert and Driveway Order Section 5 to include that culverts must be installed and backfilled with a suitable clay backfill with a plasticity index no less than 15 or greater than 50 and compacted. All culverts need to be covered with 2 inches of flexible base material to adequately cover the culvert.

Approved a tax resale deed.

Consolidated 16 polling places into 14 due to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Two locations were noncompliant, and the county would be required to make the changes.

Approved submission of a Community Development Block Grant-DR for local infrastructure programs.

Rescinded the July 3 approval of specifications for rebidding the RFP for administration/professional services in support of grants based on new guidelines from the Texas General Land Office.

Rescinded the June 26 non-award of bids for administration/professional services to support grants that were based on Texas General Land Office guidelines on procurement requirements.

Awarded the RFP on received June 19 to Grantworks for the administration/professional services to support grant applications.

Accepted department head reports.

Paid county and Memorial Medical Center bills and payroll.