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EMS says Austwell will be covered Patients’ care given priority
May 17, 2013 | 1938 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Standing at left, Hoss Whitt, director of the Refugio County EMS, gives a presentation about emergency medical responses to a group of Austwell residents during the Austwell City Council meeting on Monday evening, May 13.
Standing at left, Hoss Whitt, director of the Refugio County EMS, gives a presentation about emergency medical responses to a group of Austwell residents during the Austwell City Council meeting on Monday evening, May 13.
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AUSTWELL – Residents attending the Austwell City Council meeting on Monday, May 13, were assured that the Refugio County EMS will make sure emergency patients get the care they need and are taken to their primary care if deemed necessary.

Hoss Whitt, director of Refugio County EMS, said if a patient wants to be taken out of the county, that is a tertiary possibility.

Whitt took over the Refugio EMS after Bob Koonce retired in summer 2012. Whitt has been with the Refugio EMS for eight years.

However, because the Refugio EMS is tied to the Refugio County Hospital, it is thought to be a part of the hospital’s emergency room – unlike other EMS services that may be private or associated with a county or city.

Accordingly, the EMS acts responsibly to the hospital. That is, emergency patients, who are considered a minor emergency, would be taken to the Refugio hospital first to stabilize the patient.

He said because of a federal law that basically prohibits patient dumping (that is boosting business for the hospital), the Refugio EMS will work with patients to take them to their primary care physician facilities whenever possible and the situation deems going.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 passed during Ronald Reagan’s presidency is the federal law that prohibits patient dumping.

“We try our best to do that ... take you to your doctor,” Whitt said.

“If we don’t take you, there’s a reason for that,” he said.

In other business, Refugio County Commissioner Rod Bernal reported that his crews picked up branches and have begun spraying for mosquitoes.

The council voted to have a meeting at 11 a.m. May 24 to vote on going forward with a Coastal Assistance Impact Program grant through Refugio County. The council also will consider action on an interlocal agreement with the county at that time.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife grant will pay for renovating the community center, adding a wetlands admission center and other features. The total amount of the grant is $179,000. And the city does not have to match the funds.

After the meeting, Mayor David Cann noted that Jane Barber resigned from the city council. He said interested individuals should contact city hall if they would like to be appointed.

Also the council hired Jennifer Wright as its full-time city secretary.
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