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March 1, 2013

Clark may end contract with Rural/Metro

Health department claims ambulance service broke rules, underserved county



“Potentially if we had an emergency where we needed more than [three] ambulances, which wouldn’t happen very often — but let’s say there was a school bus accident on [Interstate] 65, you would need more than three ambulances to respond to that situation,” Burke said. “I’m not aware of a situation where someone was denied care where a unit was unavailable. We were just concerned about that possibility when they fell below the minimum and took away a unit to do a nursing home run.”

Burke told the commissioners that while Rural/Metro ambulances were out making non-emergency runs, they would ask other ambulance companies to pick up the slack on the emergency side. 

“So while they’re out making more money, we’ve got New [Chapel] and Yellow [Ambulance] covering them on basic services and emergency services,” Commissioner Rick Stephenson said. 

The commissioners unanimously approved a motion made by Commissioner John Perkins to give Rural/Metro two weeks to respond to the complaints of the health department. The county reserves the right to give Rural/Metro 60 days written notice to terminate its contract. 

If Perkins has his way, that’s exactly what will happen.

“I can’t speak for the other two commissioners, but as far as John Perkins is concerned, the contract with Rural Metro is over with,” Perkins said. “So they can wait the 60 days, they can quit tomorrow, they can wait for the next commissioners’ meeting, but with what the Clark County Health Department has presented tonight to the commissioners, I don’t think we have much choice other than to replace them as the provider in Clark County.”

Perkins said that other ambulance companies are ready and available to fill the void should Rural/Metro lose the contract, pointing specifically to Yellow Ambulance, which currently serves the city of Jeffersonville. 

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