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EDA sews up vacant spots

EDA sews up vacant spots

After a few months of emergency surgeries to repair its hemorrhaging loses, Exeter District Ambulance has finally managed to stitch up its open wounds.

Board President Wes Grim gave an update of the strides made by the public ambulance agency in recovering its financial health. At Exeter District Ambulance’s (EDA) June 25 meeting, Grim said the board officially appointed Debra Hood as its accountant. The announcement was the last contracted vacancy for the board to fill. EDA’s previous accountant, Hocking Denton Palmquist Certified Public Accountants, announced in March that they would not seek renewal of their contract at the end of the fiscal year in June. The news was the last in a series of defections from the district that included its management team, medical director and three board members within a period of six weeks.

Grim said the board has also filled its final vacancy with the appointment of its fifth member. Local Republican Party organizer Vickie Riddle will serve as Board Secretary. Vice Chair Loraine Pipkin-Franks, Treasurer Staci Walter and at-large member Mike Sherer round out the other seats on the tax-funded district’s board.

Since hiring former Paramedic Kim Dimico as District Manager on April 9, EDA has also hired a new medical director, Dr. Chadi Kahwaji, an emergency medical physician for the Kaweah Delta Medical Center for the last six years. Kahwaji replaced Dr. John Hipskind of Visalia who stepped down as medical director in March after 11 years with the district.

At the June 25 meeting, Dimico gave the Board a list of projects she would like to start working on at the district office as funds are available. Grim said Dimico presented a list that included repainting the district office as well as installing new flooring and upgrading the bathrooms inside the EMT posting station adjacent to the district office.

The Board even had time to address an employee safety issue and provide equipment to make the EMTs and paramedics more efficient. Grim said the Board approved a plan so that ambulance crews no longer have to post in the Save Mart parking lot during the heat of summer. Grim said Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency agreed that sitting in 100 degree heat with an ambulance constantly running was unhealthy for employees and the air. Instead, that crew will remain at the station where employees won’t have to leave the ambulance running. The Board also approved the purchase of several Touch Books. The portable device functions as a hybrid between a mini-laptop and a tablet thanks to a detachable keyboard and touch screen capability.

“The Touch Books will allow the medics to do reports while they are posting for their next call,” Grim said. “It should make things easier and more efficient.”

The next meeting of the EDA Board will be at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 23 at the District Office, 302 W. Palm St. in Exeter.

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