The Oregon County Ambulance District has a new Executive Director at the wheel who plans to make some positive changes to improve the local ambulance
Kenneth McKenzie, who became Executive Director in November, has been involved in EMS for a little over 30 years with experience in rural and
urban EMS services.
"I have held many leadership roles within these organizations, as well. I also have experience as a small business owner that provided data management services nationally. When the Oregon County job presented itself, it seemed like just the type of challenge I needed, and seemed like the job I had been preparing for my entire career," McKenzie said.
McKenzie said his goals are simple. "I want to provide the tools necessary for our employees to provide the best, most updated, and advanced pre-hospital
emergency care to the community. I want the ambulance service in Oregon County to be something the community is proud of and something the
employees are proud to be part of," said McKenzie.
He added he is looking at ways to expand the services offered to the community.
McKenzie's first efforts were to try to improve employee morale, accountability and consistency within the service. McKenzie added that the Oregon County Ambulance District is now on its own, no longer operating under a contract with Ozarks Medical Center.
"The Oregon County Ambulance District began operations independently on Jan. 1, 2013 at midnight, after the district decided not to renew their operational contract with Ozarks Medical Center.
This allows the district to have total control of the ambulance district operations on the field level.
Prior to Jan. 1, the employees were part of OMC
and the district had limited input into the operations," McKenzie added.
He has also been working closely with medical director, Dr. Sonia Gerlick,
and employees on updating and expanding patient care protocols. He wants the district to provide more comprehensive care to the citizens that request their
service. "I have also implemented different policies to allow the employees to have a great deal of input into decisions made concerning the service,"
Educating the community and expanding services are McKenzie's top goal as the new Executive Director. "We recently implemented vehicle tracking devices on our ambulances that allow us to become more efficient and pinpoint
problem areas to decrease vehicle maintenance and downtimes," said McKenzie. The ambulance service currently has bases in Alton and Thayer, and more ambulances will be needed to carry out McKenzie's plan to expand
service to the community.
"I will also be developing community based programs to educate the public on EMS, and provide tips and skills to be better prepared should they find themselves in need of an ambulance or emergency services. I am also looking to work with county leaders to discuss the viability of expanding the 911 coverage we have to include enhanced improvements that will significantly decrease the time it takes to get an ambulance or other emergency equipment to the
scene of an emergency," McKenzie said.
Something new for the Oregon County Ambulance District is a toll free number that goes directly to ambulance dispatch. Dispatching is currently performed by Air Evac and the direct number is (888) 269-6004. McKenzie added, "Of course, you can also still request an ambulance by dialing 911 or dialing (417) 264-7228. If you dial 911, the call goes to the Oregon County Sheriff's Department first and they will relay information to ambulance dispatch, and, if you dial the
1-417-264-7228 number, the call goes directly to ambulance dispatch. We
are looking at ways to improve the stability and provide a long range solution
to being able to contact authorities for any emergency related matter that may occur in Oregon County."
McKenzie is very optimistic about the future of the ambulance service and its role in protecting the community. "I am very proud of the employees of
the Oregon County Ambulance District. We have some exceptional healthcare professionals that are very dedicated to provide the best care available to
the citizens of the county," said McKenzie.
To stay up to date on news with the Oregon County Ambulance District, visit their page on F a c e b o o k , www.facebook.com/pages/Oregon-County-