Ky. city, county to consider ambulance agreement

The agreement will be between the city, county and Mercy Ambulance of Evansville Inc., which operates under the name AMR of Evansville.


Austin Ramsey
Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

OWENSBORO, Ky. — After months of waiting, the Owensboro City Commission and Daviess Fiscal Court will consider a new ambulance agreement on Wednesday, April 24.

That agreement, an advance copy of which the Messenger-Inquirer obtained late Tuesday, will be between the city, county and Mercy Ambulance of Evansville Inc., which operates under the name American Medical Response (AMR) of Evansville.

The city and county will pay AMR a total of $150,000 per year for the first two years of a 10-year revolving contract. That's a 150% increase over the first-year subsidy the city and county paid Yellow Ambulance of Owensboro-Daviess County this year.

Although that agreement was split (60% from the city and 40% from the county), officials on Tuesday would not reveal how the governments will approach future subsidy payments nor what subsidies may be required of them for the third year of service and beyond.

"The city and county were negotiating this to get the best contract possible," said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. "This as much a piece of public safety as are our police, fire or emergency management agencies. We’re trying to do what’s best for our community, especially when it comes to long-range planning. There are a lot of issues that will be discussed (Wednesday), not the least of which will be this subsidy."

Yellow Ambulance, a subsidiary of the Louisville-based company Procarent, informed city and county leaders of its intent to vacate that agreement in January, giving officials just six months to find a new provider.

Before the latest four-year agreement Yellow Ambulance signed (and now vacated) with the city and county last year, both governments were able to avoid paying regional ambulance companies, relying on exclusivity alone to attract interest. But as more surrounding counties and cities in the state agree to deals that sweeten the pot, and as the state of the nation's health care industry remains in a near-constant state of flux, the Daviess County service region has been left isolated.

The AMR agreement, like others, is exclusive.

According to the draft agreement, AMR will provide the same minimum staffing of eight advanced-life support units Monday-Friday at peak hours, staggering to three units during overnight hours and six units during weekend peak hours. The company's staff will work the same shifts that Yellow Ambulance did.

It's unclear whether AMR will purchase or lease vacated Yellow Ambulance assets.

AMR's base rate schedule will increase by an average of about 16% under the proposal. Emergency ALS services will cost $870 plus $15.75 per mile, per-hour fees and disposable supplies. Emergency basic life support services will cost $541.81 plus per-mile and -hour fees.

The city and county will meet in a joint session at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Daviess County Courthouse.

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©2019 the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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