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ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE DISTRICT






SCCAD PARAMEDIC OF THE YEAR (2015) NAMED

January 14, 2016 - St. Charles County Ambulance District

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. - Paramedic Kelly Maull was named Paramedic of the Year for 2015. Kelly displays diligence in everything she does, from small tasks to large. Last year, she tallied three cardiac arrest saves thanks to her thorough knowledge of the District's protocols!

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PARAMEDICS REVIVE TWO CARDIAC ARREST VICTIMS JUST HOURS APART


Photo by KMOV

September 24, 2015 - KMOV By Christina Santiago

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. - Three paramedics took two emergency calls for cardiac arrests just hours apart - using new protocols, they they revived both victims.

"The chances of the same crew being called for two cardiac arrests in a single shift is extremely slim, but for both to have successful outcomes is absolutely unheard of. Sunday was a once-in-a-career experience - one that the three of us will never forget," said Heather Briggs, one of two paramedics.

Paramedics Heather Briggs and Kelly Maull got the first call just before 9 a.m. Sunday. Paramedic Battalion Chief Sara Stewart joined the duo. While they assessed their patient for reported seizure activity, he went into cardiac arrest. The team immediately started cardio-cerebral resuscitation, and within minutes, the patient regained a pulse and was responsive.

Just hours later, the trio got another call - a witnessed cardiac arrest in a nearby subdivision. Briggs, Maull and Stewart made it to James Lampe, 46, in two minutes. Lampe's wife, Lana, is a registered nurse and started CPR while the crew was en route. The paramedics provided care on the scene, and on the way to the hospital, Lampe started breathing on his own, regained a pulse, and could follow commands.

St. Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) Paramedics have used a new approach to cardiac arrest management called cardio-cerebral resuscitation (CCR) since June. SCCAD reached a 39 percent survival rate by implementing this back-to-basics approach; the national survival rate average for cardiac arrests is less than 10 percent.

SCCAD hopes to see survival rates improve further with Lifesaver CPR, a free training initiative aimed at getting people comfortable doing chest compressions until paramedics arrive.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY PARAMEDIC FILES SUIT AFTER SAME-SEX PARTNER DENIED MEDICAL BENEFITS


Christopher (left) and Andrew Bone

June 12, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - A paramedic with the county ambulance district has filed a federal suit claiming his same-sex partner, who initially was approved for spousal benefits, was later denied them.

Andrew Bone, 32, an employee with the district since 2008, said he married Christopher Bone on Sept. 20 in California. He said he had been trying since 2011 to get coverage for his partner from the ambulance district but had been unsuccessful because of roadblocks in Missouri law.

After Christopher Bone, 30, lost his job with a telecommunications company at the end of April, Andrew Bone tried again to get coverage - health, dental, vision and life insurance - for his spouse.

Bone said this time he got an email from the district on May 5, saying his husband had been approved.

But eight days later, while Christopher Bone was undergoing a pre-scheduled surgery, Andrew Bone said he got a phone call from the district saying his husband's benefits had been denied.

Tony Rothert, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the Bones' lawsuit is similar to one the ACLU has filed against the Ozark Fire District, which denied spousal benefits to the wife of a lesbian firefighter.

The two suits are the only ones he knows of pending in Missouri.

"I'm also not aware of any government entities, other than these two, that are refusing to recognize marriages from other states," he said.

He said the ambulance district should be aware of Barrier v. Vasterling, a case that in October challenged Missouri's constitutional and statutory provisions that deny legal recognition to the marriages of same-sex couples.

The provisions were found unconstitutional, and the attorney general elected not to appeal, Rothert said.

"So the laws it's relying on have been declared unconstitutional," he said. "The district is an outlier compared to most government entities at all levels in Missouri."

The ambulance district released a statement that said: "For four decades, the St. Charles County Ambulance District has worked diligently to create an environment of fairness and support for all employees. Like many companies, we regularly review and update our policies and procedures to make a genuine and sincere effort to continue to promote this type of culture.

"The legal validity of same-sex marriages is a complicated and politically-charged matter, and the highest court in our nation is currently pondering this very issue. In that light, we're disappointed in this action in that we believe it is premature, as a decision is widely expected this summer."

Andrew Bone said it feels as though the district is trying to say his relationship is substandard compared to other employees'.

"We've been together for eight years now," he said. "It's a completely normal marriage that they want to push by the wayside simply because we're two people of the same sex."

Bone said ultimately, the issue comes down to a matter of his spouse's health.

"I don't want to put my employer in a spot like this; they are a great employer, and they've been very, very good to me," he said. "But it comes down to the fact that I love someone, and I want them to be healthy."

In addition to his medical bills from the surgery, Christopher Bone is having to purchase private insurance, the couple said.

They did not specify a dollar amount in the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday, but they are seeking punitive and compensatory damages, as well as attorney fees. They are being represented by Kirkwood attorneys Russell C. Riggan and Samuel Moore.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY PARAMEDICS GO DOOR TO DOOR


he St. Charles County Ambulance District is kicking off a new program aimed at helping senior citizens beat the summer heat.(Photo: KSDK)

June 3, 2015 - KSDK Dana M Dean, KSDK

It's typically a bad sign when paramedics show up at your door, but it was all for a good cause Wednesday in St. Charles County. The St. Charles County Ambulance District is kicking off a new program aimed at helping senior citizens beat the summer heat.

Paramedics will be going door to door all summer long in St. Charles County and passing out water bottles and informational pamphlets to residents.

Kyle Gaines, spokesperson for SCCAD, said paramedics will be discussing the following points with seniors:

- Checking with your physician to see if any prescriptions taken can cause sensitivity to heat and/or sunlight

- Scheduling errands and appointments for early morning to avoid the hottest part of the day

- Simple changes to diet that can help the body stay hydrated

For more tips on staying safe this summer, visit www.sccad.com.

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MO. PARAMEDICS IMPLEMENT PIT CREW CPR


SCCAD personnel learn and practice the pit crew protocol (image courtesy SCCAD)

April 15, 2015 - EMS1.com

ST. PETERS, MO. - St. Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) paramedics - and other first responders in the county - have begun utilizing a pit crew approach as the cornerstone of their completely redefined cardiac arrest protocols.

"Pit crew refers to the fact that everyone on the scene has a very specific, well-defined role, and the model accommodates whichever responders arrive on-scene first," said SCCAD Deputy Chief Medical Officer John Romeo.

The revised protocols - collectively referred to as cardio-cerebral resuscitation (CCR) - begin with six minutes of high-quality, minimally-interrupted chest compressions, and focus on a streamlined, back-to-basics approach. Paramedics and firefighters are training on the new protocols and will put them into practice very soon.

The CCR protocols have seen tremendous success in EMS agencies in other places. SCCAD is the first agency in the St. Louis region to debut this distinctive model of cardiac arrest management. Locally, the initial results are encouraging - a crew who trained on the protocols early put the steps into practice on a recent call, and the patient survived and went home from the hospital.

The roll-out of CCR coincides with SCCAD's purchase of the Zoll X-Series cardiac monitor/defibrillators for each of the 32 ambulances in the district. The monitors offer the ability for paramedics to see underlying heart rhythms without pausing chest compressions during CPR and wirelessly transmit patient data to receiving hospitals so doctors and nurses can prepare accordingly. A real-time CPR feedback feature measures rate, depth and effectiveness of compressions.

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EX-ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE OFFICIAL GETS SHOCK TIME FOR STEALING FROM URGENT CARE CENTER

April 15, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - A former county ambulance district official who prosecutors say took more than $500,000 from a private urgent care center was sentenced to 120 days shock time and must repay $150,000.

Kevin James Guerra, 46, pleaded guilty in December to taking money from Our Urgent Care, which has locations in Wentzville, St. Charles and Maryland Heights. Guerra had served as operations director of the business.

The sentence was handed down by Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham. Prosecutors had asked for Guerra to pay restitution of more than half a million dollars, but Cunningham said it was unrealistic to expect Guerra to pay back that amount in the five years he will be on probation.

Court documents say an audit commissioned by the company discovered the missing funds. The thefts occurred from 2008 to September 2013.

Guerra, of the 600 block of Ballantrae Drive in Wentzville, resigned from the ambulance board in October 2013. He had been elected to the nonpartisan part-time post in 2010.

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AFTER ST. CHARLES COUNTY PARTNERS SERVE FOR DECADES AS PARAMEDICS, THEY DELIVER FIRST BABY


Photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

February 10, 2015 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - Paramedics Karen O'Neill and Kari Martin, have seen a wide array of calls in their 50 years of combined service, but neither has delivered a baby - until last week.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 5, they helped Ashley Miller-Houston welcome her son into the world.

Miller-Houston awoke just before midnight at her home in Harvester and knew that her baby was coming very soon.

She dialed 911, and O'Neill and Martin, who work for the St. Charles County Ambulance District, were by her side in just seven minutes.

The paramedics got Ashley moved to the ambulance and began the short trip to Progress West Hospital, but just as the hospital was within sight, a healthy baby boy, Tyler, made his debut in the back of the ambulance.

An emergency department pediatrician at Progress West met the ambulance at the emergency department entrance and checked to ensure that Tyler and Ashley could to be taken directly to labor and delivery. Both are now home and resting comfortably.

"Just a few weeks ago, I commented to a niece who was expecting that I'd gone all these years without delivering a baby," said O'Neill. "It's an amazing feeling to be a part of such a special moment - it was easily the best day of my career."

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY PARAMEDIC ALLEGES DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF HIS MILITARY SERVICE

December 10, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - A paramedic for the county ambulance district has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the district repeatedly discriminated against him while he served as a Navy reservist and a member of the Illinois National Guard.

Matthew Lindewirth, a 17-year veteran of the district, also said he was denied pay, promotions and light duty after he was injured while transporting classified information in Africa.

The suit names current and former members of the district board as well as the current CEO Taz Meyer.

In a written statement, the district said it "strongly denied" the allegations.

"St. Charles County Ambulance District strongly supports our veterans, and proudly employs numerous current and former military personnel," the statement said. "Likewise, the employment policies of the district are supportive of the men and women who have served our nation."

Lindewirth's suit said his mistreatment included being harassed when he pointed out district violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act of 1994. He was forced to apologize to then-CEO Ken Koch and the board for challenging district policy by reporting it to the Department of Defense, the suit claims.

In addition, the lawsuit claims Koch told two other employees who were in the military at the time that "everything" was going to be taken away from them because of Lindewirth's actions. This led to arguments between Lindewirth and other employees as well as the berating of Lindewirth, according to the lawsuit.

Lindewirth claims he was not paid the differential between his military pay and his paramedic pay, despite other employees getting that money. In addition, the district failed to pay his retirement benefits for six years while he was on military duty. While deployed another time, it canceled his insurance, sick time and vacation, the suit says.

After Lindewirth injured both arms in Africa in 2012, he had to have three operations, and the district tried to force him to take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act, which would not have provided him enough time to recover, according to the suit.

In addition, when Lindewirth returned, the district refused to place him on light duty and as a result, his recovery allegedly was compromised.

"Members of the military like Lindenwirth risk all, and when they come back they shouldn't have to deal with employers that can't even follow the law," said Lindenwrth's attorney, Lynette Petruska.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE DISTRICT REOPENS SHUTTERED STATION

December 2, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch By Susan Weich sweich@post-dispatch.com 636-493-9674

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - The St. Charles County Ambulance District reopened its station in Cottleville Saturday - a move made possible by voters' approval of an 11-cent property tax increase in April, officials said.

The station, located near St. Charles Community College at 130 Weiss Road, had been closed for over a year due to staff shortages caused by budget shortfalls.

The ambulance station will be staffed 24 hours a day by two paramedics, but is capable of housing an additional crew if needed in the future.

Established in 1974, St. Charles County Ambulance District provides pre-hospital care and transportation for residents in all municipalities and unincorporated areas of St. Charles County. District paramedics respond to more than 30,000 calls annually.

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ST. CHARLES AMBULANCE DISTRICT HIRES, MAKES PLANS TO EXPAND BEFORE TAX INCREASE BEGINS

June 13, 2014 - KMOV

ST. CHARLES - An ambulance district has hired four people and made plans to expand before a voter approved tax hike kicks in later this year.

St. Charles Ambulance District Chief Taz Meyer says that since they can count on money starting to funnel in by the end of the year, they are able to spend some of the reserve funds they have been guarding.

Meyer says a project in Wentzville will be a game changer for response times in the western part of the county and says he wants people to know their tax dollars are going to good use.

The district will get another $7 million from the property tax increase.

The St. Charles County Ambulance District's efforts fell short in 2013, but voters did approve the increase in spring 2014.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY BUDGET CUTS CAUSING DELAYED AMBULANCE RESPONSE TIMES

February 4, 2014 - KTVI

ST. CHARLES - It all started with a budget shortfall in 2010, since then Marty Limpert with the St. Charles County Ambulance District says they've been fighting budget cuts that forced them close stations and lose staff.

"We lost 3 1/2 million dollars in revenue 3 ambulances in 2010. In 2012, we put an issue on the ballot for a tax increase it failed by 1 percent. In July of last year, we had to cut in the Darden Prairie area and close a base in Cottleville. We are down 13 EMT's right now and have an issue on the ballot on April 8th. If successful we will try to re-staff those positions," said Limpert.

Officials want to make it clear that the ambulance budget is separate from the fire districts. 16 to 20 vehicles are on the road at 24-7 answering over 100 calls per day. The district just released a map to illustrate areas in red that have 1 to 5 minute delays.

"Response times have increased as calls continue to come into that region, ambulances coming from other regions," Limpert said.

Right now there are 145 paramedics covering 585 miles. If the ballot issue fails more cuts are expected.

"Right now 35 percent of our revenue comes from taxes and 65 percent comes from user fees. Our best asset is an informed voter," he said.

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APPEALS COURT GIVES ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE AGENCY LEEWAY ON BALLOT WORDING

January 29, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS CHARLES COUNTY - A state appellate court says Circuit Judge Ted House didn't have authority to rewrite the ballot wording for a County Ambulance District tax proposition eventually rejected by voters last year.

The decision Monday by the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District appears to give the ambulance district board free rein on wording for the district's second try at passage. That will be in this year's April 8 election.

House before the first election last April ruled that the ballot title and language submitted by the board was "impermissibly biased" because it made arguments in favor instead of being fair, impartial and neutral.

House, in ruling on a suit by district critic Arnie Dienoff, imposed new ballot language referring simply to the purpose of the district and the amount of the tax increase sought.

The judge also replaced the board's "Proposition Lifesavers" title with the phrase "Proposition E."

After the measure was defeated last April, the district appealed the judge's ruling to clarify what was allowed.

On Monday, a three-judge panel of the appeals court said there was nothing in state law restricting what the board could include in ballot language for a tax increase proposal.

"We conclude that the exclusion of specific guidance with respect to ballot questions proposing tax increases....was an intentional act by the Legislature to allow the board discretion in drafting ballot language," the ruling said.

The ruling said although state law provides explicit direction to ambulance boards on wording for ballot questions proposing the start, end or continuation of various taxes, it doesn't do the same for tax hike proposals.

This year's ballot wording submitted by the board includes some of the points erased from last year's ballot by House.

This year's ballot will state that the proposed tax hike of 11 cents per $100 assessed valuation is needed "to restore cuts in paramedic staffing and the number of available ambulances" and "remove delays in response times to 911 calls" caused by budget cuts.

However, the board this time around did not include some other language struck last year by House.

Those statements referred to the county's growing and aging population and that this would be the first tax boost since the district was formed more than 38 years ago.

District spokesman Marty Limpert said the district was pleased with the ruling and that it would allow voters to better know what they're voting on.

He said this year's ballot wording was approved by the board last week before the appeals court ruled.

Dienoff, who filed last year's court challenge, could not be reached for comment.

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE AGENCY WILL TRY AGAIN FOR PROPERTY TAX HIKE

December 11, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - Voters across St. Charles County will again be asked next April to pass a property tax increase to fund operations of the county ambulance district.

The same proposal - to boost the district's levy by 11 cents per $100 assessed valuation - was rejected last April.

District spokesman Marty Limpert said the district's needs are the same as at the last election - to fund basic operations and meet increasing service demands, particularly in growing areas.

Officials say the district has had to make various service cuts over the past four years to make ends meet.

Among them was the shutdown in September of one of the district's 16 ambulance stations - at 130 Weiss Road in Cottleville.

The district also reduced to one from two the ambulances in service at a station near Feise and Bryan roads near the O'Fallon-Dardenne Prairie border.

Meanwhile, the county's largest city - O'Fallon - may put two city bond issues for capital improvements before voters the same day, April 8. Together they would require a property tax boost of 12.46 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

One bond issue would finance a new criminal justice center to house the police department and city courts.

The other would pay for parks and recreation improvements, including a new Civic Hall community center and a lodge at O'Day Park.

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EX-ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE BOARD MEMBER CHARGED WITH STEALING FROM EMPLOYER

December 7, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS - A former member of the St. Charles County Ambulance District board has been charged with stealing from a private urgent care business he served as operations director.

Kevin James Guerra, 45, was accused Thursday by prosecutors with taking money from Our Urgent Care, which has locations in Wentzville, St. Charles and Maryland Heights.

Court documents say an audit commissioned by the company showed that nearly a half million dollars was missing from the business since 2008.

The documents said most of that amount was funds that should have been deposited by Guerra in a company bank account.

When confronted about the missing money, court documents say, Guerra told the firm's owners that he had taken a lesser amount - $20,000 to $30,000.

He faces a charge of felony theft and was being held Friday in the St. Charles County Jail. Bail was set at $500,000 cash only. Court records say the thefts occurred from 2008 to September of this year.

Guerra, of the 600 block of Ballantrae Drive in Wentzville, resigned from the ambulance board in October. He had been elected to the nonpartisan parttime post in 2010. The ambulance district transports patients in much of the county.

Mark Fenton, a fellow board member, said Friday that Guerra didn't give a reason for his resignation.

Court records said all payments to the three urgent care centers were sent to the Wentzville facility for processing and Guerra was then supposed to deposit the money in the bank account.

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AMBULANCE BOARD FILES POST-ELECTION APPEAL OF JUDGE'S REWRITE OF BALLOT WORDING

April 30, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. CHARLES COUNTY - The St. Charles County Ambulance District has appealed a circuit judge's rewrite of the ballot wording for a tax increase proposition that voters rejected in the April 2 election.

"We need an understanding of what is allowed" for future elections, said district spokesman Marty Limpert. "The board wants to get a ruling on what is educational and what isn't."

Circuit Judge Ted House in February found that the ballot title and language submitted by the district board was "impermissibly biased."

House also said in his ruling that the board's ballot wording was "not a fair, impartial and neutral summary" and instead made arguments in favor of the tax proposal.

Limpert contended that other governmental districts have used similar language over the years.

The board on April 5, three days after the election, asked the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District to review the decision.

House said the impermissible ballot language included statements that the county's population is growing and aging, that the tax increase will prevent delays in response times to 911 calls and that this would be the first tax boost since the district was formed more than 38 years ago.

House, in his ruling on a lawsuit filed by district critic Arnie Dienoff, ordered new ballot language referring simply to the purpose of the district and the amount of the tax increase sought.

The judge also replaced the board's "Proposition Lifesavers" title with the phrase "Proposition E."

The failed proposition would have raised the property tax rate by 11 cents for each $100 assessed valuation. The district board's chairman has said the district may try again at another election.

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DIENOFF BACK ON BALLOT FOR ST. CHARLES COUNTY AMBULANCE BOARD

March 4, 2013 - Suburban Journal

ST. CHARLES - Arnie C. Dienoff is back in the running for election April 2 to the St. Charles County Ambulance District Board of Directors, thanks to persistent appeals and an amended court judgment. St. Charles County Circuit Judge Ted House on Feb. 25 reversed his earlier ruling against Dienoff's petition to have his name put on the ambulance board ballot. Dienoff also will remain a candidate in April for a Ward 1 seat on the O'Fallon City Council.

After Dienoff filed first for the council and then the ambulance board, county Elections Director Rich Chrismer said state law prohibits candidates from running for different offices in the same election and that Dienoff could not run for the ambulance board unless he withdrew from the council race.

Dienoff's name will be in the "number one position" on the ballot for the District 2 election. The other candidates are Raymond "Bud" Bauer and Mike Garman. In O'Fallon's Ward 1, Dienoff will face Kevin Wattelet and incumbent Councilman Rick Lucas.

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