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Muleshoe EMS wants to hire more full-time paramedics.

Kevin Baize, a paramedic and EMS director for Muleshoe, asked the Bailey County Commissioners on Monday about the possibility of using some of the county’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to add four positions to his EMS team.

Bailey County Judge Sherri Harrison said Bailey has an estimated $1.35 billion in ARP funding available.

Baize’s proposal would utilize about $95,000.

Muleshoe’s EMS resources are stretched, he explained.

EMS currently operates with three trucks, and eight employees who split two full-time shifts and one shift of employees who respond primarily on a callout basis. That means they’re not full-time or part-time employees, they come in as needed almost as volunteers. The EMS crew responds to an average of two-and-a-half callouts per day, Baize said.

“It would just help us better move some of that volunteer-type status into paid positions,” he said of the requested funding.

He often finds himself in a position where unnecessary transports have to be denied to keep consistent adequate resources available within the county in case of true life or death emergencies. He emphasized that these are stable transport cases.

The strain on EMS is not unique to Muleshoe. Baize said several places around the region are experiencing something similar. He sometimes gets calls from neighboring counties checking in for assistance with transports.

The total cost to hire the additional employees is estimated to be $146,000 when salaries and benefits are factored in.

“I’m only adding four positions but I’m paying higher on more shifts,” he explained.

Baize said most of that money is already within his budget. The funds he’s requesting would add more dollars to stretch those volunteer-like positions to full-time pay.

“This is just the difference to get from here to here,” he said.

Ellysa Harris

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