It’s Friday afternoon, a time when many company directors would be packed up and heading home. Not Clem Roger. He loves his job. Roger is the director of operations at AmCare in Vermont, a position he’s risen to over the course of 30 years.
“I became an EMT after my newfound Vermont friends got me to join the fire department when I moved to Montgomery. One of the guys on the fire department, who would later become my best friend, pushed me to join the ‘Fast-Squad,’ the first response service at the time. That was it, I was hooked,” Roger said in a recent interview.
AmCare currently has 36 employees and six ambulances. Every day of the week they run three ambulances 24 hours a day. But just because he’s in charge doesn’t mean Roger’s lost touch. He often goes out and administers COVID-19 vaccinations himself.
“There’s a lot of these people who are homebound completely. There’s not enough staff in the home health world to go to all these residences. I still like to visit my peeps. That’s my job. That’s what I love to do,” he says.
Since early February, AmCare has provided approximately 90 mobile vaccinations to homebound residents of Franklin County. Roger says he’s done around half of these himself.
“I can tell you which towns I haven’t been to. I haven’t been to Bakersfield. I’ve been to Berkshire but I think it’s an Enosburg address so it’s a little hard to figure out sometimes. We’re doing about a dozen a day. There’s not necessarily a number goal in mind. We’ll do as many as we can and as many as the state will allow,” he says.
Each morning he is given a list made by Franklin County Home Health, Northwestern Medical Center and various agencies with names pooled with addresses.
“I sit in my office and Google map routes around the countryside to try and see how many people we could hit in one day without backtracking every two minutes. With the limitation that I could only give six to a vial. So, I try and schedule my day around 6, 12 or 18 or multiples of 6 and then I go from there. I know there are still people out there who haven’t called or signed up or aren’t associated with any kind of home health program. Just living at home alone,” says Roger.
He was contemplating slowing down and retiring soon but says he decided the time wasn’t right. AmCare is currently in the process of partnering with Maryland-based Butler Medical Transport. The town of Richford is also currently in negotiations with AmCare to possibly run its ambulance service. It’s been an anxious time to say the least.
“I understand, there’s lot of pride involved and I used to be on the other side of the fence. I used to manage Enosburg Ambulance and we were trying to be just as good and just as strong and just as powerful,” Roger said.
But he says that with growth and volume comes more income and more assets.
“Being purchased by this big company out of Maryland, we’re gaining an HR department with people whose expertise is HR, we’re gaining an accounting department and a billing department who have 15 people doing the billing. We’re getting risk management personnel that understand risk management. They’re all experts in their field. They’re bringing us a lot of employee benefits, a lot of growth benefits and a lot of technology,” he said.
He says that he came to AmCare because of their leadership.
“Their only goal was basic care. We see a lot in the paper about this for-profit company, making it sound like we’re salesmen. What we care about, what I care about is patient care. This is really a very exciting time,” he said.
Until then, Roger and his team can be seen driving around Franklin County administering doses of life-saving vaccine to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it.
“We’ve been out Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday this week. Today ... we’re out tomorrow. We’re all over the place,” he says.