New Marshall County Emergency Medical Service Gets Team Leader

CAMERON — The Cameron community will soon see a fresh face spearheading the newly formed Marshall County Emergency Medical Services.

Since the unexpected closing of Cameron’s ambulance service in September, local authorities claim medical response times to the area have been dangerously slow, but the community’s nearly 2,000 residents will soon benefit from a new system in the area this summer.

The approximately $900,000 plan, projected to take effect July 31, will feature new squad vehicles and supplies. Commissioners also approved a one-year contract with HealthTeam Critical Care Transport, a private emergency services provider for $112,195 in December. HealthTeam Critical Care Transport is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HealthNet Aeromedical Services, headquartered in Charleston.

The not-for-profit critical care transport system is operated cooperatively by WVU Medicine, Charleston Area Medical Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Stephen Jenkins, a resident of Mount Olivet in Marshall County, began working last week as ground team leader for the new organization. Jenkins said he will run day-to-day operations in Cameron, coordinating with local fire departments, sheriff’s departments and other EMS agencies, as well as working with city council in Cameron and county commissioners.

A 30-year emergency services veteran, Jenkins was previously employed as an operation supervisor in southwestern Pennsylvania at Washington Ambulance and Share Services before serving as crew chief for Weirton Area Ambulance and Rescue Squad.

As part of the contract, HealthNet will provide education tools, management and daily oversight, while paramedics and emergency medical technicians will be employed by the county commission.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with the community of Marshall County,” Jenkins said. “Right now I’ll be going over all of HeathNet’s procedures and policies and also overseeing the construction of the building in Cameron as well as the trucks which Marshall County has ordered, which are currently being built. I’ll be conducting interviews for EMTs and paramedics in June and hope to bring candidates to the academy by early to mid-July.”

Cameron EMS had been housed in a building leased to it by Camforge before the lease was terminated. The lease termination, along with a lack of volunteers, caused the service’s closure. Since the closure, coverage has been supplied by Limestone EMS and Tri-State EMS.

He added the coming changes will decrease wait times for ambulances in the Cameron response area, which covers 212 square miles.

“Residents won’t have to rely on private services to come from Moundsville with a 30-minute wait or from Limestone with a 15-20 minute wait,” Jenkins said. “Residents in the immediate Cameron area should have an ambulance in about seven to 10 minutes.”

Clinton Burley, president and CEO of HealthNet Aeromedical Services, said the changes will have a positive impact on the Cameron community. Burley added a location for Marshall County Emergency Health Services has not yet been decided, but should be in the coming weeks. Two sites are currently being considered in Cameron.

“I’m confident there will be an increase in the quality of service in this market,” Burley said. “We’re able to provide a very high level of service in every community we serve and I’m confident that Marshall County will be no exception.”

During their meeting last week, Marshall County commissioners also approved the certification of a $400,000 loan request made to BB&T Bank by the Moundsville Volunteer Fire Department to assist in the construction of a new fire station and renovations to the current station.