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June 24, 2013

Officials raise concerns over ambulance service

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

(Continued)

NEW ALBANY —

Rural/Metro claimed Clark County emergency and health officials had been unwilling to meet with them about the concerns, and thus the company elected to voluntarily terminate its contract. 

Dr. Tom Harris is the Floyd County Health Officer and served as the medical director for the NAFD when it operated an ambulance. He was opposed to the city’s contract with Rural/Metro last year, and remains opposed after almost nine months after the company took over the New Albany service. 

“None of the local EMS medicine specialists that are to trained to administer EMS are willing to work with this group, and that should tell you a lot right there,” Harris said. 

The medical director for Rural/Metro practices near Indianapolis. 

Some patients have been transported to Louisville hospitals instead of Floyd Memorial, which is also an issue, Eichenberger and Harris said. 

“I think that’s the expectation of Floyd Memorial and the medical staff,” Eichenberger said. “Our hospital is a well-rounded, full-coverage hospital that can handle virtually anything the ambulances bring in, other than major trauma.” 

Obviously hospitals receive more money for the more patients they treat, but NAFD Fire Chief Matt Juliot said the issue isn’t just tied to money. 

Patients have the right to decide which hospital they are transported to, and when  the city’s service offered only one ambulance, it was difficult to take people to the facility of their choice, Juliot said. 

The one NAFD ambulance had to remain in Floyd County the majority of the time, so if a patient wished to be transported to a Louisville hospital, a private company such as Yellow Ambulance would have to be called in, he explained. 

“None of our medics are trying to talk patients into diverting from Floyd Memorial,” Juliot said. 

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