Fairfield Ledger
http://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1078200

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 19, 2014

Two ambulances in bad shape

By DIANE VANCE | Nov 06, 2013

The Ambulance Service Agency Board suggested a sale/transfer agreement for the ambulance vehicles from local ownership to the Midwest Ambulance Service, the company that contracted to serve Jefferson County in October 2012.

“The board has had challenges this first year figuring our finances from its three sources, our hospital, city of Fairfield and the county,” said Jefferson County Supervisor Becky Schmitz at Monday’s supervisors meeting.

“The goal was to have three equal contributions from each of the three entities,” she said.

The ambulance board initially believed the newest of three ambulance vehicles was in good shape and the second newest was in reasonably good shape, while most understood the third ambulance was not in good condition, said Schmitz.

“Bob’s Automotive in Fairfield has been making repairs and he feels the second ambulance is not sound,” she said. “It keeps needing repairs for different problems. It’s evident we need to replace two vehicles, maybe three.

“Our concern is budgeting $100,000 for a new ambulance. We’re not sure how contributions from the three supporting entities can purchase another ambulance,” said Schmitz.

“We met with the ambulance company and worked out an agreement with Midwest Ambulance where it would take over the ambulance vehicles and repairs. They gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse. If we could make the deal before the end of the year, they would get a tax deal,” said Schmitz.

The ambulance board is $73,834 in the hole without counting any contributions from Jefferson County Health Center, Fairfield or the county, she added.

Jefferson County Health Center’s written board report Oct. 28, outlines the proposal included a contract extension of four years with monthly increases in subsidy payments of: $4,000 through September 2016; $5,000 per month from October 2016 through September 2018; and $6,062.50 per month from October 2018 through September 2020.

Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt wanted to know what the county’s contribution would be.

“The county’s subsidy will remain at $25,000 a year,” said Schmitz.

Dimmitt said the supervisors would not vote on the matter until the contract could be reviewed by Assistant County Attorney Pat McAvan.

Fairfield City Manager Kevin Flanagan, attending the supervisors meeting, said he would ask the city’s legal counsel, attorney John Morrissey, also to review the contract for the city.

Schmitz said another concern she’s discussed with county Sheriff Gregg Morton is ambulance crews’ responses to calls.

“I talked with Gregg to make sure we’re addressing some concerns expressed,” said Schmitz. “Crews are relying too much on GPS.”

Supervisors had heard anecdotes of an ambulance call coming from Packwood and the crew responding to Batavia.

“The ambulance owners promised to do some training with maps and familiarize the staff with dirt roads,” said Schmitz. “GPS doesn’t always show the dirt roads.

“We also thought it a good idea to have some sort of socialization among the ambulance crew and our firefighters and law enforcement, so people could get to know one another,” she said.

Dimmitt said he’d like to know the rate of ambulance staff turn over.

“They’re staffed from Urbandale [home base for Midwest Ambulance Service],” said Tracy Vance, executive director of Fairfield Economic Development Association. “Folks get sent down here one day a month or so. My concern has nothing to do with their professionalism, I’m concerned with them not knowing the geography and roads of our county.”

Dimmitt asked Schmitz to have someone from the ambulance board come and talk to the supervisors at a meeting.

 

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