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Acadian expects strong membership in St. JohnSTACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / September 16, 1998CONVENT – St. John is one of the fastest growing parishes in call volumefor Acadian Ambulance and Air Med services among the 33 parishes to which Acadian responds, and membership in this area remains favorable.

Vice President of Operations for Acadian, Steve Kuiper said the call load for St. John has increased about 25 percent in the last year, and a strongmembership enrollment count for this year is expected. Final membershipenrollment figures will be indefinite for another two to three weeks, but “we are expecting about the same numbers from last year to return, and possibly more,” Kuiper said.

With LaPlace serving as a “bedroom community” to New Orleans, Kuiper said membership in the parish is favorable and steady.

“People sleep in LaPlace and work in New Orleans, and this creates a stable member/non-member ratio,” he said. Strong membership isimportant not only for the security of individual families, but for the community as well, he said. Membership helps ensure financial supportnecessary to assure the depth of pre-hospital care such that Acadian provides, Kuiper said.

According to Acadian Ambulance President Richard Zuschlag, “For each community, it (membership) helps us to provide out-of-hospital emergency medical service that has been recognized as the best in the nation.”Members are guaranteed a 20 percent discount on Acadian Ambulance and Air Med services. Therefore, in the case of an emergency, “if someone’sinsurance covers 80 percent, there will be no out-of-pocket expenses,” Kuiper said.

This year, membership fees were $60 per family, covering children under age 21 still living at home and those age 23 or younger who are in college.

A $48 reduced membership rate was available to persons on Medicare and possessing supplemental insurance.

Membership enrollment directly affects the emergency service provided to each parish, especially in rural areas, Kuiper said.

Strong membership allows for good service, and Kuiper said Acadian has received favorable comments for efficient response to several accidents in St. John Parish. “Acadian responded to the recent bus accident in Edgard, and about 35-40 children were taken away in 14 ambulances within a one-hour time frame,” Kuiper said. The children suffered only minor injuries.Kuiper also mentioned the prompt medical service to two recent accidents. Air Med responded to a head-on collision on I-10 and a four-wheeler accident that required immediate assistance. Acadian respondedto both calls.

Acadian began its operations in St. John Parish in 1993 when it wascontracted with the parish to respond to all emergency 911 calls. Kuipersaid the emergency 911 system has been an efficient communication tool in emergency situations.

“It is easy to use, especially for the elderly,” he said.

The 511 code was assigned by the Public Service Commission for easy access to Acadian dispatchers for non-emergency information or service.

“Remember that 511 is only for non-emergency purposes,” Kuiper said.

“We’ve made stickers that show both numbers, with 911 in red, and even children have been able to contact us easily.”

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