From the Director

Merrill Thank you for your interest in Algona Emergency Medical Services. Our members are proud to be part of this great community, and strive to provide the best care we can on each and every call.

Having served in other areas of the state and having worked with dozens of services as a trainer and educator, I can confidently say that the dedicated professionals that staff our roster are second-to-none. Collectively, our volunteers contribute thousands of hours of service to the citizens of Algona every year, and our career staff serves many hours every week on-call, above and beyond their normal working schedule, in order to guarantee that when our services are needed, we are ready.

Algona Emergency Medical Services, like other services across the country, will face major challenges over the next several years.  The aging population in rural Iowa, coupled with decreasing Medicare reimbursement rates will have a significant impact on our financial situation by increasing the demand for our services, while decreasing our revenues.  Over the last few years, we have implemented procedures to protect us against this shortfall by streamlining our processes, and finding more cost effective ways to provide this critical service to our community.  Supplementing our crews with volunteers, and minimizing our stock of supplies to only those needed in the short term have reduced our costs significantly.

In addition, there is a movement in our industry toward providing additional non-emergent out-of-hospital services to some of our community's chronically ill patients who may not qualify for home health enrollment.  These services could include periodic in-home assessments, medication reconciliation, post-hospitalization follow-up care, and other preventive measures to help these patients remain at home and decrease their need to be seen in the emergency department or to have recurring hospitalizations.  Many states have begun implementing these "Mobile Integrated Healthcare Systems" as an addition to their ambulance services with great success.  Algona EMS is preparing models of this type of service that could be implemented here by studying services in Minnesota and Colorado where such systems are being operated with positive results for the communities they serve.  Our strong working relationship with Kossuth Regional Health Center will certainly benefit our patients when it comes time for us to begin this service.

I am very proud to be leading such a noble and professional group of rescuers, and we thank you for your continued support of our mission.

Gary F. Merrill, Paramedic
Director of Emergency Medical Services
City of Algona