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Ellsworth Ambulance Operating Committee elected to contract for medical direction services with Allina Health

Road construction in village almost done - for now

Monday night, the Village of Ellsworth meeting of the Board of Trustees began with the Pledge of Allegiance.

With downtown Ellsworth in slight disarray the last few weeks, Public Works Director Greg Engeset shared some happy news that the road construction crews were nearly done and hope to be finished by Friday, but no later than Monday of next week if they are delayed. As of Monday night, they had only five more water valves to replace.

The work is being done in preparation for a larger Department of Transportation project that will start late next Spring.

The Board scheduled a Public Hearing on October 5th before the regular meeting for a Floodplain Zoning Ordinance.

An application was presented to the Board for a Conditional Use Permit from Gabe Feuerhelm to allow Light In- dustrial Use in a Commercial District (c) in a portion of the building at 598 W. Lucas Lane, formerly Shopko.

“Gabe Feuerhelm explained that he was renting out a third of the Shopko building to be used for light rubber molding. He explained that he uses a similar process in another community and has not had any issues,” Curt Wandmacher reported from the previous Plan Commission meeting, before saying he was asked if there would be any smell or sound escaping the building. “Mr. Feuerhelm explained that no smells or noise would be an issue with the molding process.”

Feuerhelm is the President at RockShield Rubber Company, which currently operates in Milltown, WI.

If all goes according to plan, Ellsworth residents will be able to use new voting equipment at November’s election, which will be held at the Seyfourth Building on the Pierce County Fairgrounds. Wisconsin’s Department of Administration’s Local Routes to Recovery grants have helped provide funds for new equipment.

A special meeting was called last Thursday, September 10th for the Public Safety Committee after Regions Hospital, based in St. Paul, communicated that they would no longer be offering their medical director services.

Inquiries were made with Allina Health to take over services. Allina, based in Minneapolis, is currently operating ambulance services in nearby Prescott and River Falls.

“I just want to be clear that this is just in the exploratory phase, and that this is in no way a result of the service, operation or staff of the Ellsworth EMS. It’s just that local non-profit ambulance services are becoming less and less sustainable due to the way revenues are obtained,” Village Trustee and Public Safety Committee member Becky Beissel stated.

Beissel explained that Medicare and Medicaid make up a large portion of the service calls, and they pay much lower rates, which results in lower profits.

“One question just popped in my head. How can Allina operate on those funds?” Village President Gerald DeWolfe insightfully asked.

Beissel explained that Allina is a bigger company, and with that comes stronger buying power.

“It’s kind of like if you would consider Walmart and their buying power, so Allina has more buying power than a local non-profit ambulance service,” Beissel stated.