It is time to renew ambulance contracts for the county


T his is always a dicey time for the county  Board of Supervisors when the date arrives to renew contracts for the ambulance services in the county. 

  It has a tendency to get downright personal when you are discussing Aunt Bessy and her ride to the hospital and just why it took so long for the ambulance to show up.  Part of the reason that a private service handles the business is that they are professionals and they do it for a living.

  This time three different services expressed an interest in bidding for the county’s business for the next four years, the existing provider, which is AMR; another service called ASAP and a third company, Pafford. 

These services have evolved a great deal over the years.  For example AMR recently merged with another company, and part of the services they will offer to Simpson County will be helicopter transport along with three fulltime ambulances.   AMR will  ask for an annual subsidy of $60,000 from the county as well as selling membership to their service.

As part of their proposal, ASAP will offer four ambulances and will add helicopter service in the near future.   They will ask for a $75,000 annual subsidy from the county as well as selling memberships to their service. 

Pafford will ask the county for a $400,000 annual subsidy. 

These proposals  came before the board at the first meeting in May.  County Administrator Rheul Dickinson compiled the bids and summarized them for the board.  In addition to the bids,  penalties were listed for not meeting specified response times as well as times within Magee and Mendenhall and exceptions for uncontrollable circumstances. 

Supervisor Danny Craft moved to accept the proposed bid by AMR.  His motion died for lack of a second.  Supervisor Mickey Berry moved that the decision be tabled until all supervisors were present.  Supervisor Randy Moore seconded that motion.  Moore, Berry and Kennedy voted in favor. Craft voted against. Skiffer was absent. 

Berry said he thought all should be present to make the decision.  The board then voted to extend the existing contract with AMR one month and all voted in favor.  That would allow the full board to consider the new contract.