Last week’s special called meeting for the Simpson County Board of Supervisors highlighted problems regarding the county’s requests for proposals (RFP) for a new ambulance service to cover the county.
Board President Danny Craft expressed his annoyance about why the board was having the meeting. He denied knowing that AMR, the county’s current provider, had expressed their interest in offering reduced service in the county. Three AMR ambulances now serve Simpson County. In January AMR had requested to cut service to two ambulances.
County Administrator Rhuel Dickinson confirmed that he was made aware of the proposed cutback in January stating that it was a corporate decision made by AMR. Craft said that it should have been talked about and worked out rather than asking for a new RFP.
The existing contract was supposed to have been for three years. It is now nearing its first year of renewal, and AMR executed their opt-out clause to cancel business effective the first of July 2020. This actually gave the county more than the 90 day notice as required.
The three ambulance units are currently housed in Magee, Mendenhall and Harrisville so they can respond in a timely manner to different locations around the county.
The Board of Supervisors is now taking bids for new services to the county. They are asking about options for service from providers. The first is three ambulances with a sprint truck for a supervisors to use so they can make assessments on an accident scene. Option two includes the use of four ambulances to service the needs of Simpson County. Option three is for three emergency ambulances and one for non-emergency operations, along with a sprint truck for a supervisor.
The term for service is four years with a four year option to extend.
The proposal states that the Simpson County ambulances will not be used for back-fill for other counties except in emergency situations.
The board discussed whether the services should be accredited to meet bid standards. AMR is certified by the state.
The proposal also states that the county would like preference to hiring existing employees with the new company who are from Simpson County.
The RFP is also calling for training to be made available to existing emergency responders.
The complete proposal for bids is published in the legal section of this newspaper this week.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the board recessed until 8 a.m. each Tuesday to respond to any situations that may occur in the county.