News and Tribune

Floyd County

June 24, 2013

Officials raise concerns over ambulance service

Gahan backs Rural/Metro; Floyd Memorial says issues can be resolved

NEW ALBANY —

Though he stressed the issues can be resolved, a local hospital official said there have been some concerns about the service provided by Rural/Metro Ambulance since the company began operating in New Albany. 

Rural/Metro has transported patients to Louisville that could have been treated locally, and there are also concerns about the number of EKG tests being administered by the company, according to Dr. Daniel Eichenberger, the chief medical officer for Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services. 

The EKG test — which stands for electrocardiogram — checks for complications with electrical activity in the heart. 

Hospital and city officials said the concern is that Rural/Metro isn’t performing enough EKG tests on patients prior to them arriving in the emergency room.

“We were used to certain things being before,” Eichenberger said. 

Mayor Jeff Gahan allowed Rural/Metro to assume control of ambulance service in place of the New Albany Fire Department in October. 

He said the move would save taxpayers as much as $270,000 annually through reductions in expenses from having firefighters staff an ambulance. 

Gahan also touted that Rural/Metro had more accreditation for levels of service, and could provide three ambulances for the city instead of just one. 

“I’m very pleased with the transition and the service we’re providing the residents of New Albany,” Gahan said Friday. “We’ve been able to expand the services with more ambulances without any additional costs to the taxpayers.”  

Rural/Metro also operates under the management of the NAFD’s administration. 

But there have been issues with Rural/Metro in surrounding communities. 

In March, Rural/Metro terminated its contract with Clark County following complaints by the Clark County Health Department. 

Dr. Kevin Burke, the executive director of the Clark County health department, alleged Rural/Metro failed to stock certain medicines, didn’t obtain mutual-aid agreements with other certified ambulance providers and neglected to maintain a minimum number of ambulance units in the county. 

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