Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 2, 2012

Panel takes no action after hearing third-party ambulance service

CROSSVILLE — The Cumberland County Budget Committee took no action after hearing a brief presentation recently from a company interested in contracting with the county to run the Emergency Medical Services department.

The presentation was made after county commissioners on the committee requested Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. explore the feasibility of contracting EMS operations to a third party.

"I think you'd need a detailed report and information because the only way it would benefit the county if you contracted it out would be if they had to pay you," Carey said. "The department is making money."

"I don't know how you figure. We've lost money the past two years ...," said 9th District Commissioner and Budget Committee Chairman Carmin Lynch. "It does need to be made clear that if we did decide to do something like this that we'd have to put it out for an RFP (Request For Proposal) so it's open to the public."

Walt Downey with First Call Ambulance Service, LLC made a brief presentation to the committee.

"Through strategic planning, we would set up an aggressive plan," Downey said.

He said the company currently operates ambulance services in several counties surrounding Davidson County near Nashville.

"We go in and help counties save money. If we didn't think we could help you we wouldn't be here," Downey said.

He explained the company supports the medical community and sets up a partnership between the company and the county.

"Just what you're up against with all the regulation issues in this day and time, we can help with those. There is a ton of responsibility. This is a highly regarded field staff and we're not going to come in here and change the leadership or employees. We think we could save you some money based on the information we've seen. We could buy the equipment, or lease it. Communication is the key to partnership," Downey said.

He said the company offers both ALS (advanced life support) and BLS (basic life support) services.

"We have one of the largest services in the state with 112 ambulances. Our ALS and BLS teams provide great response times, patient care and are quick and available at all times," Downey said.

"Do you have any figures on what kind of savings to the county you could give us?" Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner, asked.

"No, we weren't prepared for that today," Downey said.

He said if the company was given the specifications on what the county would like, they could give an exact quote.

The committee took no action, but said they would take the information under advisement and consider them in the future if the county were to decide to contract with a third party. The county would look at all proposals submitted by agencies after an RFP was sent out by the county.

The budget committee is scheduled to review the EMS department's proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-'13 during the Tuesday, May 1, meeting.

The meeting will be at 4:30 in the small courtroom of the Cumberland County Courthouse. The public is welcome to attend.

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