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March 15, 2013

Rural/Metro Ambulance ends contract in Clark County

Yellow, New Chapel to pick up slack

JEFFERSONVILLE — Though Rural/Metro Ambulance disputes the claims of contract violations brought forward by the Clark County Health Department, the Indianapolis-based emergency services provider has decided to voluntarily terminate its contract with the county, effective in 60 days.

The Clark County Commissioners heard from health department Executive Director Dr. Kevin Burke at its Feb. 28 meeting. The contractual violations Burke alleged Rural/Metro committed included failure of Rural/Metro ambulances to stock controlled substances like morphine and Ativan; failure to let Clark County 911 control ambulance dispatch and standby locations at all times; failure to maintain a minimum number of available ambulance units within the county; failure to obtain mutual-aid agreements with other county-certified ambulance providers; and failure to provide reports on “long response time” runs. 

Reading from a prepared statement, Richard Doggett, the Rural/Metro vice president responsible for EMS operations in Indiana, told the Clark County Commissioners at the board's Thursday meeting that county leaders, Burke and representatives of the Clark County Emergency Operations Center had been unwilling to meet with company representatives to discuss solutions to the issues.

“Without two-way communication, we have no ability to share the actions we have taken to address Dr. Burke’s concerns or to solicit the county’s guidance and recommendations for future improvement,” Doggett said. “We believe we are at an impasse and are left with no choice but to voluntarily provide notice to terminate the contract and refocus our management team and work force on the patients we will continue to serve in the area.”

Neither Burke nor county 911 Administrator Brad Meixell were in attendance at the meeting to dispute Doggett’s claim.

“I think there was maybe some miscommunications there, but I know that I directly did not receive any request from them for any type of correspondence or response,” Commissioners President Jack Coffman said after the meeting. “I know our county attorney did request some information from them, and he did not receive the information he requested.” 

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