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Ind. county approves EMS contracts after months of disagreement

Floyd County officials have replaced New Chapel EMS with AmeriPro Health and the Highlander Fire Protection District


An AmeriPro Health ambulance.

AmeriPro Health/Facebook

By Brooke McAfee
The Evening News and the Tribune

FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. — Floyd County will receive EMS service from AmeriPro Health and Highlander Fire Protection District starting in June.

The Floyd County Commissioners approved EMS contracts with the two providers at a Tuesday meeting.

The county’s current contract with New Chapel EMS will expire at the end of the month, and the new contracts with AmeriPro and Highlander Fire will begin June 1.

The decision followed months of disagreement between county officials on which path to take for EMS service.

The option selected was a compromise combining service from a private agency and a local fire district.

Al Knable, president of the Floyd County Commissioners, said that “change and transition is upon us” with the new contracts.

“It’s not always the easiest thing in the world to deal with, and it brings a lot of emotions and a lot of uncertainty,” he said.

“Where we’ve ended up with this compromise wasn’t my first choice, but I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’m content with the contracts that we’ve signed tonight.”

AmeriPro, a private contractor, will serve as the primary EMS provider for the entire county for the next seven months.

AmeriPro will offer two 24/7 ambulances and one paramedic response vehicle starting June 1.

Highlander Fire will serve as a secondary EMS service for Greenville and Lafayette townships.

In 2025 and 2026, AmeriPro will transition to partial coverage in New Albany Township, Franklin and Georgetown, while Highlander will serve as the primary provider for Lafayette and Greenville townships.

Currently, New Chapel is providing Floyd County with two ambulances and a third at peak run hours. The Floyd County Commissioners rejected New Chapel EMS’ bid for ambulance service in March.

The commissioners voted 2-1 for the Highlander contract with Jason Sharp voting against. The vote for the AmeriPro contract was unanimous.

The commissioners’ vote for the contracts followed a vote from the Floyd County Council affirming their commitment to appropriating funds for both contracts.

The council voted 7-2 in favor of this commitment with Danny Short and Connie Moon voting against.


In total, the cost is roughly about $3.5 million through 2026 for service with both AmeriPro and Highlander.

This year, the AmeriPro contract will cost about $78,083 per month and Highlander Fire will cost about $33,400 per month.

In 2025 and 2026, AmeriPro will receive a monthly subsidy of $82,250 for coverage with two 24/7 ambulances.

Highlander Fire will receive a monthly subsidy of $33,400 for one 24/7 ambulance and another that would run five days a week and 10 hours a day.


In February, the county’s EMS advisory board recommended that the commissioners reject bids from both New Chapel and AmeriPro and explore a proposal from Highlander Fire for ambulance service.

In March, the majority of commissioners voted to pursue negotiations with AmeriPro. However, many council members expressed hesitation for AmeriPro to serve as the primary provider and advocated for Highlander to be included in the county’s EMS plans.

Knable feels that the county’s plan “sets up both of our service providers for success, not only for 2024...but also for 2025, 2026 and beyond.”

Sharp expressed frustration with how the process has unfolded with Highlander Fire, noting concerns about the contract. He is a firefighter with the Jeffersonville Fire Department.

“I’m just going to say, this is absolutely the worst contract I think I’ve ever seen in regards to public service ever — from the way that it was negotiated to the language that was put in there,” he said.

“And I think the public is right to ask a few questions,” he said. “Why is it that the only person sitting up on this board who has actually worked in public safety has a problem with this?”

The Highlander contract has “very few measurable standards” for performance, Sharp said.

Regarding the AmeriPro contract, he also feels that two 24/7 ambulances are not enough to cover the entire county.

“When it becomes more important who’s providing the service versus the level of service, it’s not about public safety anymore,” Sharp said.

Floyd County Commissioner John Schellenberger voiced support for the Highlander contract.

He emphasized that this journey started several years ago with the Fitch Study, which indicated the need to improve ambulance service in areas such as response times.

“This is a compromise contract, but I think it’s good for Floyd County,” Schellenberger said. “It’s going to bring us much better ambulance service than what we had before.”

“It’s going to engage Highlander and AmeriPro, and it’s going to be a partnership between them, and I think it’s going to be a lot better coverage that we’re going to have for the residents of Floyd County .”

Floyd County Councilman Dale Bagshaw said he was reluctantly voting to affirm support for funding the contracts as presented, but he was opposed to the process related to Highlander Fire being brought on board.

He said the commissioners’ process of considering EMS contracts was “taken hostage by [council] members to only fund a contract that included Highlander Fire.”

“AmeriPro was considerably higher than New Chapel, and now this hybrid EMS is higher as well,” Bagshaw said.

Both Short and Moon brought up concerns about the Highlander contract.

Moon said she is “not confident that this is the most efficient or the most responsible option for our county.”

Short said if the commissioners chose to terminate the contract with Highlander, the county would be responsible for paying Highlander the full amount.

“So I don’t see a whole lot of safeguards there if for some reason Highlander can’t perform or if the ALS certification lapses or something else should happen,” Short said.

Knable emphasized that the Highlander contract was “the contract we were able to negotiate.”

“This is what we had to do in order to gain their confidence that this contract would not be altered next year or with the next election cycle,” he said. “This is where they are. I’m happy with the contract as is.”

Floyd County Councilman Brad Striegel noted that fire districts are an “extension of county government, and there’s an open line of communication.”

“So I think if there’s some sort of major issue with the fire department and the service they’re providing, I think they’ll probably be the ones to bring it to our attention before we even bring it to theirs.”


The Floyd County Council will formally vote on funding for EMS at a special meeting, scheduled for 3 p.m. next Wednesday in the Pine View Government Center.

Striegel said the appropriation will be more than $800,000 for the rest of the year.

The two EMS contracts will not become active until the funding is appropriated, Knable said.

The Floyd County Legacy Foundation is providing $500,000 from the Floyd County Council to support this year’s EMS costs.

Floyd County officials are also seeking long-term solutions regarding both ambulance coverage and funding. The commissioners expect to establish a task force committee in June to explore the future of EMS.

It will be an “ongoing discussion,” Knable said.

“It’s my anticipation that within one to two meetings of that task force, by fall we’ll know whether there’s a willingness...for the departments to work together for a countywide EMS or if it’s going to be fire district-centric,” he said.

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