County stays local with new ambulance contract
On a 2-1 vote on Monday, the Jackson County Commissioners approved a new three-year contract with Jackson County EMS for ambulance service in the county starting in January of 2023.
Commissioners Dan Brenner and Ed Kathrens voted in favor of the contract, and Commissioner Keith Kelly voted against.
As part of the new three-year contract, Jackson County EMS, which is owned and operated by Brent Teter and Jay Watkins, will receive $497,712.96 in 2023, $512,644.35 in 2024 and $528,023.68 in 2025, which is a three percent increase each year.
The county’s current three-year contract with Jackson County EMS expires at the end of this year. The current contract includes an annual payment of $352,000 through the end of 2022.
The new contract states that Jackson County EMS will continue to provide two fully equipped ambulances for the county.
The primary ambulance will be stationed in Holton and will be fully staffed at all times.
The second ambulance will be fully staffed with on-duty personnel 84 hours a week, which is a 20-hour a week increase from the current contract. The 84 hours will include 12-hour shifts each day of the week.
In May, the commissioners requested bids for ambulance services from Techs, Inc., which operates Jackson County EMS, and Global Medical Response, Inc. of Colorado, which operates American Medical Response (AMR).
For a one-year contract from Jan. 1, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2023, Jackson County EMS initially bid $497,712.96 to provide one ambulance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a second ambulance that would be staffed 64 hours per week.
AMR representatives bid $420,000 a year for one 24/7 ambulance with a second ambulance staffed 84 hours a week, which was $78,000 less than the approved bid from Jackson County EMS.
Commissioner Dan Brenner said the commissioners considered several factors when making their decision on the contract.
“There was overwhelming support from the community to stay with EMS regardless of the fact that they were going to be a little bit more expensive,” Brenner said. “People really want to keep what we have.”
Brenner said they also looked at the economic impact Jackson County EMS and their employees have in the county.
“We also looked at whether another company could come in here and be ready to serve the county in a few months,” Brenner said.
As part of the new contract, Jackson County EMS will continue to provide continuing education training for all local first responders in the county, including all fire departments and first responders.
The new contract also includes free assessments and transports of all county prisoners at the jail and also free blood draws on suspected persons driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when it is requested by an officer.
EMS will also continue to provide standbys for all law enforcement when requested and to all potentially dangerous fire scenes when requested by the local fire departments.
EMS will also provide, at no charge, medical care and transportation for all county emergency employees while on call or while on duty.
CPR training for county employees also continues to be included as part of the EMS contract
EMS will be allowed to provide standbys at sporting events and engage in separate contracts with other entities. In the event the ambulance is needed for an emergency elsewhere in the county, Jackson County EMS agrees that the emergency will always take priority over private, contracted work.
“We are proud of the EMS organization we have built for our community. For the last 22 years, Jackson County EMS has not only been the headquarters for TECHS but our home,” Teter and Watkins said. “We look forward to being a part of the health care and public safety teams in Jackson County. We will always strive to continually advance and improve the delivery of prehospital care.”