Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ambulance controversy prompts updates to policies

Melissa Roach
Posted 2/21/18

ORR— The city’s ambulance service is working on updates to its policies and procedures after a controversy erupted last month stemming from an ambulance call attended by a caregiver without fully …

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Ambulance controversy prompts updates to policies

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ORR— The city’s ambulance service is working on updates to its policies and procedures after a controversy erupted last month stemming from an ambulance call attended by a caregiver without fully compliant certification.

The issue came before the council for a second time on Feb. 12, after initial discussion at a special meeting on Jan. 31. “We had an issue on one of the runs with there being an allegation against the ambulance of there being an unlicensed person,” said Councilor Ericka Cote.

The alleged incident occurred during a patient transfer in early December in which Chandra Klakoski, who is currently uncertified, was in the back of the ambulance along with another EMT, Jules Long, and may have administered patient care, although reports are somewhat conflicting. Klakoski was formerly certified, and had reportedly recently completed a refresher, but has not completed necessary paperwork to obtain a certificate.

City officials consulted Robert Norlen, the state of Minnesota’s EMS Field Supervisor, about the possible breach of policy. According to the meeting minutes, “Norlen indicated that as long as two EMTs were in the ambulance, and one was in the back with the patient, minimum standards would be met. Only the EMT would be allowed to provide patient care. He also indicated the ambulance needed to follow whatever policies and procedures have been approved by the Ambulance regarding ride-alongs.”

The council held their January special meeting to sort out the allegations, which another ambulance service responder had brought to the attention of the city council.

The council questioned the ambulance service personnel about the ambulance policy concerning ride-alongs, as well as what is considered patient care, and if the ambulance fulfilled personnel requirements. In a report, Diana Klakoski acknowledged the policies need to be reviewed and updated. The city council then directed the ambulance department officers to develop and to maintain a written set of policies and procedures by April 1, which set minimum standards of conduct and operating standards using suggested guidelines from the League of Minnesota Cities. The council also wanted assurance that the current by-laws are being enforced.

At their special meeting last month, the council instructed the ambulance service to adopt and enforce a policy that only persons holding an active or current EMT/EMR card would be allowed to respond until the updated policies and procedures have been approved by the council. If needed, a current firefighter with valid driver’s license and current EVAC training could drive the ambulance.

Mayor Joel Astleford also addressed the ambulance officers, telling them they needed to be treating each other and city staff in a respectful, courteous, and professional manner and further personal attacks and disruptive behavior may result in termination.

In other business, the council approved entering into a purchase agreement with the American Legion Post 480 for purchase of the club’s meeting hall. The Legion has expressed interest in turning the building over to the city for some time now, and decided to move forward in pursuit of this agreement after discussion regarding the matter was brought up at the January special meeting. Legion members expressed hope that the city would agree to take ownership of the building as a community center. The group has noted that they have an aging and dwindling membership and are financially unable to maintain the building in the near future. The council accepted the terms, and passed the motion for moving forward with the agreement. The city will take ownership for a cost of one dollar. The tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, coolers, freezers, bar and bar stools are included in the transfer. The Legion will continue to hold monthly meetings as long as the charter is active, and hold its 52 Club fundraiser in the building at no cost. Memorabilia and other items will be allowed to remain in the building or in the building storage. The Legion also agreed to be responsible for the 2018 real estate taxes.

Councilors also reviewed a request from Rosie Hoffer for reimbursement for property damage. In the claim, Hoffer reported that she was driving in the alley behind Patten’s Café and one of her tires slid into a hole. She is requesting that the city compensate her for some of the damage done. “We’re not liable for something like this, I don’t think,” said Mayor Astleford. Clerk Cheri Carter told the council that the request has been turned over to the insurance agent, Todd McGillivray of Otis-Magie, who is investigating the claim, and will advise the city on the results. He noted that municipalities are granted immunity from liability claims in certain situations.

Department reports

Paul Koch reported that the bio-solid permit has expired at Shermers, and would like to get an application area set up on the far side of the airport. Koch reported he would look into permitting or issues with the state or FAA.

Dallas Johnson reported the Fire Department has a few new interested people. He told the council he would like to send new members to an upcoming summer Firefighter I & II class this summer.

Jim Gray reported the Ambulance is seeking to utilize the back room at the old city hall for those who would like to be involved with the ambulance but live too far away. The room would allow for responders to come and do stand-by.

In other action, the council:

> Heard from Mayor Astleford on the problem of people feeding deer in the city, which has become a public safety hazard for drivers.

> Approved training and travel requests for the ambulance and city maintenance supervisor.

> Approved an ambulance request for purchase of a stair chair for $5,584.13

> Approved a request from the Fire Dept for purchase of a transformer piercing nozzle for $715.

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