IDPH Suspends Ambulance Service in Oxford Junction

By Jill Kasparie

OXFORD JUNCTION, Iowa — State officials have put a hold on ambulance services in Oxford Junction.

The city’s volunteer team has been suspended, meaning it can no longer respond to emergency calls with ambulance care.

For now, dispatchers said people living there are receiving services from nearby towns such as Wyoming and Olin. It all started when the Department of Public Health held a regular inspection and noted a list of deficiencies.

Those weren’t corrected within the given time frame. The city needs to revamp its service.

Oxford Junction’s ambulance is currently sitting in the back of the fire department. Its lights are off and no one has used it in a while.

“We heard some stories that this might be coming, but until it actually did and the realization hit that ‘oh I guess the doors are locked on it’,” said Oxford Junction Fire Chief Denny Coon.

The suspension notice cites a failure to meet requirements such as a having a licensed driver with documented training and failure to maintain personnel rosters and files. The Department of Public Health said suspensions don’t happen often.

“Generally, the services that receive the citation and warning for the criteria deficiencies have those corrected within the 30 days,” said IDPH Interim EMS Bureau Chief Rebecca Curtiss.

“I think it was basically just a lack of effort, some miscommunication and a lot of butting heads is how we ended up with where we are at,” said Oxford Junction Mayor Mike Shirley.

A team of people is working to get the ambulance service back.

“When you have a community where a huge percentage of them are elderly, it is a concern,” Coon said.

Chief Coon says they’re making changes.

“We are just going to work through, take one step at a time. We’ve actually contracted with an outside entity to kind of oversee the process to move it forward,” Coon said.

Coon said before this EMS was run as an independent volunteer service. Now, it’ll be a department within the fire department.

City officials said they were dedicated to getting the ambulance rolling again as soon as possible.

“We’ll get it back the way it was, and we’ll probably be a better service than we were,” Shirley said.

The IDPH said the city will need to correct the issues, submit a new application and go through an on-site inspection before the ambulance service can operate again.

l Comments: 319-398-8268; jill.kasparie@kcrg.com

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