2011-12-07 / Front Page

EMS Contract Approved By Commissioners

Council Waits To See It On Paper
by David Pugh
Buckeye Staff Writer

Fulton County Commissioners have come up with an Emergency Medical Services contract, but Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, said Archbold Village Council will wait to see it on paper before agreeing.

The contract approved by the commissioners Thursday, Dec. 1, appears to reject Archbold’s on-call system for emergency medical technicians.

Wyse discussed the contract briefly during the Monday, Dec. 5 council meeting.

The commissioners, Village of Archbold, and Archbold Fire Department have been in negotiations for weeks over the proposed EMS contract.

At issue is Archbold’s oncall system for EMTs.

Of the four communities that host county-funded paramedic squads composed of a paramedic and an EMT, three require the team to stay together, sleeping at the station, to answer calls.

Archbold allows its EMT to remain on call at home overnight, and report to the station when dispatched on a rescue run.

Dean Genter, Fulton County commissioner, contended Archbold’s on-call system created unreasonable delays in answering early-morning calls.

Village of Archbold offi- cials said ALS-1, the Archbold based paramedic unit, was later than others when answering calls, but was on average within 30 seconds to a minute of other units.

Village officials said utilizing on-call EMTs saved the department about $80,000 to $90,000 a year.

“Side-By-Side”

The contract proposed by Perry Rupp, commissioner, calls for an EMT and paramedic to be “on duty.”

When asked by Genter to clarify the term “on duty,” Rupp said it means the EMT and paramedic would be “side-by-side.”

In a later interview with this newspaper, Rupp clarifi ed the definition as “a paramedic and an EMT, together, with their unit, prepared to go to a scene.”

When asked if this would mean Archbold could no longer use the on-call system for EMTs, Rupp said, “We are offering a contract that has those stipulations.

"One offers a contract, another accepts. It still has to be accepted."

Rupp said he had been in talks with Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, and Andy Brodbeck, AFD chief, about the contract prior to the Dec. 1 vote.

Wyse said at the Dec. 5 council meeting Archbold officials had “had a couple of conversations with Mr. Rupp.

"He said if we want to suggest different options, he would be open to that.”

In the meantime, Wyse said the county fire chiefs were scheduling a meeting to discuss the contract proposed by the commissioners.

More Money

The contract proposed by Rupp and passed by the commissioners includes increasing the amount that goes to county communities for operation of the paramedic system and support for volunteers.

The three northern fire departments– Fayette, Lyons and Metamora– each will see the amount they receive increase from $82,000 per year to $90,000.

The four southern departments– Archbold, Wauseon, Delta, and Swanton– which operate paramedic units, will see their payments go from $326,000 per year to $358,000.

None of the payments had been increased since the paramedic-manpower program was established 10 years ago.

Previously, county fire chiefs said they would not seek additional money from the commissioners.

The increase, Rupp said, “is less than 1% over the life of the agreement, over the last 10 years. That’s good cost control,” he said.

Barnaby

Paul Barnaby, president of the commissioners, had previously made a motion to renew the current contract without changes.

He brought his motion before the commissioners on Thursday, but the motion died for lack of a second, he said.

The commissioners also had a concern about Fulton County-funded ambulances answering calls in Lucas County, for which Fulton County received no compensation.

Rupp proposed addressing those concerns “outside of the contract.”

Rupp also suggested reconvening a committee or panel of those who were serving on various boards or commissions when the county manpower paramedic program was first organized 10 years ago.

The group could review the current system to see if it is living up to expectations, he said.

Written Document

Wyse said Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, emailed a request to Vond Hall, county administrator, on Friday, Dec. 2, asking for a printed version of the contract.

Howell has not heard from Hall, Wyse said.

Wyse said village officials don’t want to take action until they see the contract language, and they don’t know when they can expect to see the contracts.

Kevin Morton, councilman, asked if the commissioners want a contract in place by Jan. 1.

Wyse said the last time EMS contracts were negotiated, they weren’t finalized until March, weeks after the original contracts expired.

Wyse said he will keep council informed about the EMS contract situation, which he said “continues to change every few days.”

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