New ambulance and emergency services to Cheyenne County transition smoothly
August 3, 2023
By A. Marie Hamilton, Sidney Sun-Telegraph
SIDNEY – Morrill County Community Hospital (MCCH) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Coordinator Shannon Odiet reported a smooth transition of emergency services at latest City of Sidney council meeting earlier this month.
During the second regularly scheduled City of Sidney Council meeting on July 25, Odiet explained how services were seamless.
"We were set to begin operations in Sidney to provide ambulance service on July 1," Odiet explained. "We actually had to begin eight hours earlier so that there would be no gap in service coverage in the area."
Subsequently, MCCH began running services on June 31 in the late afternoon.
"So far, we've responded to more than 130 calls for service this month," Odiet stated. "The national average response time for rural areas is about 14 minutes – the state says in our region, the average response time right now is 18 minutes."
However, Odiet explained MCCH is far exceeding the national and regional response times by several minutes.
"We're averaging 8.2 minutes from 9-1-1 until we're placing the patient at the hospital," Odiet further explained. He said crews have been able to keep the response times low despite the vast rural nature of Cheyenne County.
Adding, "Our crews have worked through many challenges to ensure that no call goes unanswered."
"We provided the best possible care to the communities we serve – however, you know the outpouring of support that we've received from the communities has been nothing short of overwhelming."
Odiet thanked the County Commissioners, City of Sidney, Villages of Gurley, Dalton, Lodgepole and Chappell as well as Region 21 Emergency Response, Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office (CCSO), Sidney Police Department (SPD), Sidney Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) and the Cheyenne County 9-1-1 Center.
Odiet said the aforementioned organizations and governmental entities "has made the transition seamless for us and with the continued strong support from Sidney Regional Medical Center – it's amazing to see how many of these communities came together in such a short period of time."
"From the time we were notified to the time it was approved – we had 10 days to set this up," Odiet further explained to city council members. "That's hiring staff, that's orienting people and on-boarding – a huge logistical challenge – but my crews have been nothing short of amazing with their hard work and their dedication – many of whom are out answering calls right now."
However, Odiet stated part of his desire to provide an update to city council was to address a concern.
"We just felt like it was our duty to help out at the last city council meeting on the 11th where there was a public statement made publicly and we heard it over the radio and news media that somewhere in the process we misrepresented ourselves to the city manager and city council," Odiet stated. "I just wanted to come here tonight to try and set that record straight."
Adding, "At no time did we ever misrepresent ourselves of who we are and what we stand for and I don't want any of that to overshadow the good things that we've done in such a short period of time – and how communities from these two different places have come together to make this happen."
"It's nothing short of absolute amazing," Odiet stated.
Odiet reiterated he wanted to thank the city council for its part in the process and the contract.
"Without your help – we wouldn't have been able to do the same with Cheyenne County Commissioners."
City of Sidney Mayor Brad Sherman and several other city council members thanked Odiet and MCCH EMS for their diligence in ensuring a smooth transition of services and had nothing but positive things to say about the continuation of services in the county.
Sherman raved about how MCCH EMS has been able to hit the ground running and doing so, so strongly that response times are under 10 minutes.
"We appreciate you being there for us and bringing us together and staying here with us to get all of our people to the hospital in 8.2 minutes," Sherman said.
Both Sherman and Odiet invited any member of the public to speak to them if they should have any concerns about the EMS services provided in the city and county.