Ambulance performance bond hits snag
EUREKA SPRINGS -- Despite assurances to the Western Carroll County Ambulance District that it could provide a five-year performance bond for the ambulance service contract, Eureka Springs Fire Chief Rhys Williams told WCCAD commissioners Tuesday the city may not be able to provide it.
He said he had been in contact with local insurance company Bare & Swett, who told him they were notified by companies they represent that they can only provide a year-to-year bond.
"They said they would like to see the contract modified," he said. "I asked if we could have a letter to that effect."
"Have them send a letter to us on how they want it worded," said Commissioner Chuck Olson. "Maybe a letter would be fine; if not, we may have to have an addendum."
Williams said he feels the contract is between the city and WCCAD and questioned why a contract is needed at all for a performance bond.
"Let's find out what they don't like," said Olson.
Commissioners discussed who should pay for oxygen in the small cylinders used by Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs) for some patients on medical calls. Holiday Island Fire Chief Jack Deaton, whose department has a Cascade system at Holiday Island with which it has been filling the bottles for all EMRs in the Western District, said it costs around $80 to fill a 100-pound cylinder, which will fill about 20 small bottles. His department needs to be reimbursed, but he's not sure who to give the bill to.
WCCAD pays for the bottles and regulators the EMRs use, and Eureka Springs used to fill these bottles at their station in town under its contract to provide supplies used on patients.
But taking bottles into town to be filled became problematic, Deaton said, and Olson, himself an EMR with Grassy Knob, agreed.
"The problem was going to Eureka Springs and if they were out on a call, we'd leave (the bottles), and no one knew whose they were, although now they are labeled," Olson said. He added getting the bottles filled in a timely manner was a problem.
The Cascade system was brought to Holiday Island. WCCAD paid for the oxygen for a short time but later said it was Eureka Springs' responsibility to pay for it under the contract specification about supplies. Eureka Springs charges the patient for the oxygen, even if it placed on the patient at the scene by EMRs using their own bottles, Deaton said later.
"The ambulance provider is to provide all materials and supplies," said Commissioner Joe McClung, Jr. "That's pretty clear," he said to Eureka Springs Fire Chief Rhys Williams. "We specified this when we went for bids, and that's my position on it."
"I can't speak for the city, but they'd probably want to move that system back into the city, to have them filled there," Williams replied.
"It wouldn't be a problem for Inspiration Point and Grassy Knob, but it would be for us because sometimes we fill cylinders a couple times a day," said Deaton.
In other business, WCCAD:
* Voted to release a bond that had been called on one of its accounts with Cornerstone Bank. The account is below the $250,000 threshold covered by FDIC, so there is no danger of loss while the bank finds a replacement bond. McClung said he alone could have signed the release but wanted everyone to sign it because he works at Cornerstone and wants such actions to be above question.
* Approved the financial report. From a beginning balance of $345,443, income of $7,724 and expenses of $112,167, the district is left with $241,000.
* Approved new officers: Olson as chairman, McClung as treasurer and new commissioner Ken Mills of Holiday Island as secretary, and added all commissioners to the bank account signature cards.
* Heard Olson report WCCAD now has permission to put a couple filing cabinets in the hallway behind the judge's office for records storage. It will look at federal surplus equipment for a less expensive price than buying at an office supply store.
* Received inventory and personnel lists from the EMR Alliance and an EMR distribution map.
* Heard Olson and Deaton give an update on Central Dispatch changes. On the eastern side of the county, Dispatch will forward calls to Mercy Lifeline, who will dispatch their own ambulances. Mercy will also dispatch helicopters, but will dispatch Air Evac by request of the patient or the medical personnel on the call.
* Heard the ambulance performance report for June. Of 65 calls in the Western District, 37 were from Holiday Island, nine from Grassy Knob, seven from Hwy. 62 East, five each from Inspiration Point and Hwy. 23 South, two from Hwy. 62 West and none from Hwy. 23 North. There eight emergency calls that took more than 15 minutes to reach, between two and 11 minutes, all due to distance.