Rushville Republican

News

January 17, 2013

City ambulance service discussed

(Continued)

RUSHVILLE — Reedy Financial from Seymour initially analyzed information from RMH in the county’s EMS report in developing the city’s business plan.

The plan affirmed that the RFD plan is reasonable interpretation of anticipated costs and revenue if the city provided ambulance services to city residents.

Essentially, because of the higher population, inside-the-city-limits providers make money with ambulance services, but outside the city there aren’t enough people to separately support a profitable service. Currently, the areas are combined.

The city said they are also open to providing for the combined area as well.

The financial advantage is realized because RFD maintains ready, on-duty firefighters who would have the medical training to provide Basic Life Support. Because firefighters are already on duty and thus on call for fire or emergency runs, the cost is reduced.

A sponsoring hospital is required for the city to offer Advanced Life Support Services and the city has expressed an interest in meeting with the RMH Board of Directors to discuss RMH sponsoring the city’s services, as they currently supervise their own EMS program.

The city is taking these steps for several reasons and at the urging of RFD Chief Chuck Jenkins.

A wage study revealed that RFD wages are lower at the top levels than similar communities. In studying the issue, the city learned that many communities are going to a combination of full-time and volunteers firefighters.

“Communities our size were starting to go away from the full-time, full-staff fire department. And we knew that at some point we were going to have to look at it,” Pavey said.

The mayor said being able to maintain a professional fire department is a consideration. How seriously a professional fire department can impact economic development, for example, is still in question.

“I can tell you that when we negotiated with the ethanol plant that was a requirement. They were only coming to communities with full-time, paid firefighters,” he said.

“At the end of the day, people can walk out of here today and say, ‘You know what? The city can go ahead and pay for their firefighters.’ And we can, for awhile. It becomes, how long is awhile? Right now, we are of a size that unless we make a commitment to grow ... we are managing our own demise. We are slowly watching things shrink, we’re just doing a really good job of managing how it shrinks.”

Whether proceeds from ambulances services could be shared or divided in such a way, either geographically or in services performed, that both RMH and RFD could benefit moving forward remains a question that it appears all parties are willing to keep talking about.

Approximately 80 percent of emergency runs are within the city and 20 percent are outside the city.

All sides agreed that RMH has done an excellent job to date providing emergency services and RFD also runs an excellent fire department. The question was not, it seemed, whether either entity could do a good job. The question was more what is the best way to provide emergency medical services and make it a better use of tax payer dollars than the city believes is currently happening.

City Councilman Smith summed up a portion of the city’s view saying, “RMH is a great facility. It’s never looked better. We’re fortunate to have it. Brad and his staff do a great job up there, but in this case we think and we feel like there’s a better way to utilize those dollars and we know from the city’s perspective we can do that.”

“To us it’s not winning or losing, it’s what’s best for our city residents. And in speaking with some of our county leaders, how can we incorporate the county and do the best thing for all,” added Smith.

John Byrne noted RMH had not yet had their meeting with the city on RMH moving to a sponsoring role rather than operating. Byrne spoke about the long, sometimes bumpy history of ambulances services in Rush County until RMH took it over six years ago.

“We’ve provided the best, top-notch ambulance service we could possibly provide and I’m very proud of them today. Naturally, we’re proud of that so we’re going to defend for that too at the same time. We don’t want to see it go. ... We felt as though when we were asked to be the sponsoring hospital we felt we owed it to the City Council first to sit down and meet with them and let each of those individuals have a chance to talk. It involves a roundtable discussion that needs to happen.”

Byrne agreed that this has begun recently with Karen Meyer, VP of finance and chief financial officer at RMH, meeting with city officials.

Pavey acknowledged that if the numbers come back as a minimal difference they shouldn’t do it, but if cost is a factor and there is significant impact then everyone needs to sit down and look at it seriously.

Pavey said he has confidence in RFD’s ability to run an equally effective service and save money.

RFD would hire additional employees, both civilian and firefighters, to provide these services.

Mayor Pavey said he does not want the discussion on this topic to become a behind the scenes lobbying effort instead of an open discussion.

“At that point I will push a decision. I think the lobbying of something that should be openly discussed will hurt the community more than moving in a direction,” he said.

Pavey said this would be hopefully the first of one or two more meetings before a direction is settled on. If, in two months, progress has not happened Pavey said he will push for decisions one way or the other.

Pavey did ask Brad Smith, RMH CFO, to put the city on the agenda for the next hospital board meeting to hear ALS/BLS details and to have RMH begin consideration of being a sponsoring hospital.

County officials will have to participate in the decision if they want the city to provide EMS service outside city limits, if the proposal moves forward.

Smith made sure the city heard the message of what the ambulance service has faced in the past.

“This disagreement is the cost. That’s why I think, if given the opportunity to sit down and compare the two reports, you see that what has been projected is not actual. ... We’ve got six years of data and not once has anyone asked us for that actual data,” he said.

Pavey responded saying the numbers the city used were provided to the county by RMH.

The bottom line, Pavey said, is, “Whether I have a call right now for an ambulance or whether I don’t have a call for an ambulance, I have four guys sitting at the fire station. I’m paying them. I’m already paying them. They’re already sitting there. Do I have to pay them twice? No.”

Smith also asked that future discussions focus on patient care and the mechanics of RFD delivering ambulance service. Additionally, he pointed out that in a volume business, which EMS is, that cutting the pie into too many pieces among various entities would make the numbers unworkable for everyone involved.

Pavey and Smith traded talking points numerous times on why RMH was not an invited guest to the open meeting, with Pavey saying the process had to start somewhere and it was started at the governance level and would come to RMH as the steps progress.

Sheehan asked for county leaders to add input and share information on their thoughts about this proposal in the coming meetings.

Monday night’s meeting was a start in the on-going conversation between the city, county, RMH and RFD that will determine how ambulance services are structured in the future.

The governing bodies and the mayor met originally July 5, 2012, to discuss the proposal by the city. After the initial presentation Councilman Brian Sheehan made a motion to form a committee consisting of the mayor, two appointed Council members, a Commissioner and a County Council member to meet and come up with a proposal to present to all members for their consideration. The motion passed in July. Following a series of closed door meetings this past fall no public recommendation was released by the group.

Contact: Melissa Conrad @ 765.932.2222 x107

 

Text Only
News
  • Briefs ObituariesMary Jane Howard, 91Nancy L. Sefton King, 76Verdia Merritt, 82Stella T. Sampson, 93Thanks!The Rushville Republican thanks the following persons for their subscription to and support of this newspaper:Ivan WooleyBettie MohrAssessor newsThe R

    August 22, 2014

  • Pendleton author releases debut fantasy novel PENDLETON — In the nationwide release of “The Keeper of Edelyndia,” the first in author Benjamin J. Denen’s trilogy, Orron and Draedon find themselves in a struggle for justice, love and faith. They also realized that they are fighting for what is tr

    August 22, 2014

  • Field Day event announced A forestry field day will be held on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 in northeastern Rush County. The event will take place at the Forgey tree plantation property located across from the Fairview Cemetery on C.R. 500 N between C.R. 700 and 800 E, Rush Count

    August 22, 2014

  • 1 fd higgins accident 082214 pic Foggy decision leads to injury accident One motorist’s decision to pass a tractor trailer on a foggy SR 3 Tuesday morning resulted in three vehicles sustaining extensive damage and two of the drivers being transported to Rush Memorial Hospital as a result of their injuries.According to inv

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-rv082214-ALS pic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge sweeping nation Many citizens in Rush County are participating in a challenge that is sweeping the nation.The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over the United States. People of all ages are participating in the challenge which is to help raise awareness and money

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1 fd lion football 082214 pic2 Lions ready to roar into football season The 2014 Rushville Consolidated High School football team officially kicks off the season at 7 p.m. Friday, when the Lions host Milan at Hinshaw Field.This year’s team returns few seniors, a host of underclassmen and boast a new head coach Scott McMu

    August 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Blotter Rushville Police Department8/18/149:55 a.m.: Accident reported in the 300 block of East Sixth Street.4:49 p.m.: Illegal soliciting reported in the 1200 block of Waggoner Street.4:58 p.m.: Battery reported in the 400 block of North Perkins Street.8/19

    August 22, 2014

  • nws-rv082214-homes for our troop pic Homes for Our Troops to build home in Milroy Homes for Our Troops is going to be building a new specially adapted home for wounded Army SPC Jacob Lyerla in Milroy.The Rush County community is invited to join local community members at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for SPC Lyerla at 11 a.m. on Sep

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws rv 081914 workcamp pic Workcamp still accepting applications for repairs The Group Workcamp Foundation is still accepting applications for home repairs for the 2015 summer season.During one week in the summer of 2015, hundreds of teenagers and adults will come to Rush County to perform minor home repairs for the elderly,

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-rv081914-guffey guilty pic Jury convicts Arlington man of aggravated battery Following a three day trial in the Rush Circuit Court, the jury found William P. Guffey, 44, of Arlington, guilty of aggravated battery, a Class B felony, battery on a law enforcement officer, a Class D felony, resisting law enforcement, a Class D fe

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo