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Affordable Care Act Impacts EMT Services

ambulance Emergency medicsOWENSBORO, Ky. (5/13/14) — Eight proposals out of 36 models studied as part of an overall review of the city’s ambulance service were presented this afternoon at an Owensboro City Commission work session.

Department Chief Steve Mitchell, who presented the eight proposals, told the commission the Affordable Care Act is a “variable” that has caused the collapse of companies providing similar services in other parts of the state and the country. He recommended the commission look over the proposals between now and February of next year, after the election cycle, to see how the ACA impacts the service provided in Owensboro.

Of the eight proposals, five were offered in greater detail than the final three, and suggestions for restructuring the ambulance service ranged from contracting with a private EMS outfit all the way to handling all call types across the entire county.

Costs for the plans varied as well, depending primarily on the level and number of service choices. Contracting with a private company would cost about $250,000 in taxpayer dollars for start-up expenses, and other plans pushed the price into the million dollar range. The plan to offer services county-wide would cost about $2.1 million in start-up expenses, and require nearly $4 million each year to operate, Mitchell said.

Other plans presented but not “fleshed out” enough to present financial projections called for partnering with Daviess County or Owensboro Health.

Mayor Ron Payne asked Mitchell to bring back a recommendation for one of the plans presented before February. He also asked what the city would do if the company providing ambulance service right now were to withdraw from the contract after Mitchell pointed out that the agreement between the city and the ambulance agency automatically renews annually unless either party files an intent to terminate the agreement.

Mitchell said the city has a contingency agreement in place with an ambulance service in Evansville, Ind., until a new company can be found to run the ambulances.

Dennis Beard
SurfKY News

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