Harrison EMS presents pact proposal

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

CADIZ - Doug Crabtree, president of Harrison County's EMS Association, presented a contract to the Harrison County Board of Commissioners which will include a collaboration with Smith Ambulance and the Harrison Community Hospital (HCH) to provide emergency medical services coverage for the county.

While the details of the interim agreement from Smith and HCH were not presented at the meeting, Crabtree assured the board that their portion of the contract would be available for review by the county prosecutor's office fat the next meeting.

The Harrison County Firefighters Association approved the agreement at their last meeting and are prepared to sign the agreement as soon as it is complete.

"Both Smith Ambulance and the Harrison Community Hospital provided satisfactory terms for the agreement." said Crabtree adding that this proposal was accepted as the best of those received from private ambulance services submitting. "We feel they will provide the most viable, reliable and complete emergency service for the entire county."

According to terms worked out by the Firefighter's Association subcommittee Smith Ambulance will cover the west side of the county and HCH would cover the Eastern half. Crabtrree added that the 911 system, dispatching as well as volunteer coordination and organization still remain to be worked out. The contract also addresses protocol for all EMS services in the county.

"We will continue with our recruitment and retention efforts in an effort to upgrade our volunteer services." Crabtree assured. "We feel that this is the best solution at this time."

Commission chair Don Bethel conceded that in the current economic climate that a collaboration with paid services may continue to be a necessity, "We need to also consider a system by which we could offer come compensation to volunteers for their service."

Bethel stated that according to calculations the current volunteers in the county are saving Harrison county the equivalent of $3 million per year if contracted through paid ambulance services.

"The fact is that paid services may be continue to be a part of the equation in the future to insure we provide timely and professional emergency service for our residents," Bethel acknowledged Crabtree and the subcommittee members for their time and effort in solving what he termed a "crisis" in community health care. "I commend them for recognizing that we may not be able to handle this our selves, we may need to contract outside services to provide a safe environment for our citizens."

Crabtree said that the county firefighter's association will utilize their resources to contract the additional coverage for the time being but acknowledged Bethel's statement that it may cost the county money in the future.

There will be no meeting on Dec. 4 so the contracts will be reviewed at the next regular commissioner's meeting on Nov. 11. The plan should be in place by January.

"This gives a year to work together with the volunteer service to see if this is a feasible plan to cover all of the communities in the county," Crabtree concluded.

In other business:

The board approved agreement 81-13, a RUMA with Cardinal Gas pipeline for Stock Twp. For 1.4 mi. of CR 44, 0.2 mi. of CR 17, 2.4 mi. of CR 45, 0.2 mi. of CR 22 and 1.1 mi. of Merrryman Rd. also CR45. This agreement overlaps an agreement with Chesapeake which is accepting responsibility for the roads.

Increased Senior Center Levi funding by $12,000.

Palmer may be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com