Edwardsville considers private firm for ambulance service
Though it will increase the cost of providing ambulance services, the city of Edwardsville is moving forward with a five-year contract with a private company.
The Edwardsville City Council gave its support to move forward with the contract with American Medical Response, or AMR, at its Monday meeting. The contract, currently estimated at $245,000, would be $20,000 more than if the city were to continue receiving ambulance services through the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department.
City staff members told that council that currently, the city is paying $150,000 for its ambulance service, but the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department has informed the city that the cost will jump to $225,000 next year.
Mark Mathies, chief of police and fire services for the city, said it was his recommendation to move forward with a contract with AMR for $20,000 more because the company would house its ambulance at the city fire station, meaning decreased response times and greater lifesaving potential. He said the city’s firefighters and other city staff also could take part in training that AMR would provide its ambulance employees.
Scott Lenn, general manager for AMR, told the council that the company serves 250 communities across the country, including Topeka, and Johnson, Linn and Wabaunsee counties in Kansas, as well as in Independence, Mo.
AMR would ask for a city subsidy of $245,000 in the first year, with a 3 percent increase each year through year five. The subsidy was calculated using a mileage fee of $14 plus a base rate of $848.47 for each call response, based on the number of ambulance responses the KCKFD had reported in 2011 in Edwardsville.
“If we find out in the first year that our revenues were higher than what was reported from KCK, the subsidy goes down,” Lenn said.
The ambulance would feature both AMR and city of Edwardsville branding.
Councilman Mark Bishop said when the city used MAST ambulance services, they would send Edwardsville’s ambulance to respond to calls in Kansas City, Mo., but Lenn said AMR wouldn’t do that.
Lenn said that if a medical transport call came in, one of the company’s ambulances from Johnson County would be used, leaving the Edwardsville-based ambulance to respond to emergencies.
The council agreed it was worth the extra cost to improve the safety and wellness of the city’s residents.
“I think it’s the best thing for our citizens,” Councilman Chuck Adams said.
With the general consensus to move forward with a contract, city staff will come back to the council in the future with a formal agreement for approval.
Councilman Garrett Mellott did not attend the meeting. Councilman John Eickhoff had to leave the meeting before the discussion of the 2013 budget (see related story, page 7).
In other business, the council:
• Approved designating a $4,400 state grant from the Special Traffic Enforcement Program for the purchase of an electronic ticketing system, but tabled until its first August meeting a decision on whether to purchase the $25,230 system through a lease-to-purchase program at $8,800 for three years or to buy it outright, saving $1,170.
• Conducted a 20-minute executive session for the purpose of attorney-client privileged discussion regarding a development agreement with Raintree 1 LLC. The council took no action following the session.
• Approved minutes of the July 9 meeting.
• Approved payment of bills totaling $291,155.