Rushville Republican

December 7, 2012

Board approves city ambulance planning

Melissa Conrad
Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — Board approves city ambulance planning

Melissa Conrad

Rushville Republican

Members of the Rushville Board of Works voted Tuesday night to begin the transition planning needed to ultimately operate an ambulance service run by the Rushville Fire Department for city residents.

Member Gary Cameron made the motion, “to set up a transition plan to move forward with the city ambulance.” Darrin McGowan seconded and members Angie Barton and Marvin Hedrick all supported the motion.

Items to be addressed in transitional planning under Rushville Fire Chief Chuck Jenkins include funding, equipment pricing, meetings with Clerk-Treasurer Ann Copley on cash flow, manpower hiring, procedures, level of care options, scheduling and timelines of how such a move would fit together, said Mayor Mike Pavey.

Talks have been underway for months regarding the city’s desire to provide Rushville’s ambulance service through the fire department, a model numerous other communities use, say officials.

Currently, emergency ambulance services are provided for both the city and parts of the county through Rush Memorial Hospital.

The discussion of whether the fire department should operate an ambulance service within Rushville has come up before over the years; this time, however, votes are on the table to move the project another step closer.

The Board of Works members’ vote to move forward with transitional planning signaled the next phase of on-going talks between the city, county and a hospital sponsor.

Mayor Pavey’s administration has been in contact with Rush Memorial Hospital with plans to seek their partnership as the sponsoring hospital under a city run service. Those decision have yet to be made by RMH, according to Tuesday’s discussion.

The City is awaiting word on when a December or even January hospital board meeting would be held so that such a partnership could be discussed. With new officials being appointed at the county level in January and hospital board appointments awaiting new county officials, how and when such a discussion will take place remains to be determined.

Mayor Pavey indicated Tuesday that the City has plans to meet with the County Council and the Rush County Commissioners to update members in January, prior to holding further votes on the City’s role in providing emergency medical services for the community.

During the summer, a committee met behind closed doors, allowable under state open door laws due to it’s make-up of combined county and city officials and others, appointed to discuss the city run ambulance service possibility.

No announcement was issued by the group following conclusion of their talks.

Step by step, the city has continued to move forward with plans for a city run ambulance service, including completion and presentation of a financial analysis in November of the proposed emergency medical services operations done by Reedy Financial out of Jackson County.

The financial plan includes both an option for city services only, and an analysis were the Rushville Fire Department to also provide emergency medical services to parts of the county now being served by RMH.

The financial plan will be a part of the briefing to county officials by city leaders in January, said Pavey.

Mayor Pavey said in November that there are some items that will need to be in place if the city decides to proceed with providing EMS services. One of those would be to acquire a sponsor hospital.

He asked Council at that time for permission to begin putting some of those items in place.

Rushville Common Council member Craig Smith, in November, made a motion for the mayor to move forward with the items for the EMS service. Council member Brad Berkemeier seconded the motion, which carried.

The Board of Works vote Tuesday signals the city is a step closer to a decision to operate emergency medical services out of the Rushville Fire Department and that they continue to work towards the belief that a partnership with RMH, as the sponsoring hospital under a new operations model, and the county is possible.

Mayor Pavey also updated board members on a grant and loan combination program for the Rush County Senior Center, progress on work to improve flooding conditions south of town, meetings with Ivy Tech on their Rushville facility, meetings with F.E.M.A. as part of recertification of the levy, and pre-construction meetings scheduled for today in Chicago on the grant program to make the North Industrial Park shovel ready.



Contact: Melissa Conrad @ 765.932.2222 x107