Ambulance panel sees 1st draft of bid specs

Friday, July 28, 2017

David Stoppel, chairman of the Eastern Carroll County Ambulance District Commission, on Tuesday presented his fellow commissioners with a partially completed rough draft of a request for proposals from ambulance service providers.

The commission, which held a workshop July 14 to discuss the RFP, was scheduled to hold another workshop Thursday afternoon in Berryville. Details from Thursday’s discussion were not available by press time for the Weekend edition.

Stoppel’s rough draft comprises 21 pages, and he said another five to 10 pages will be necessary to complete the document. Stoppel said the document is based on RFPs from other ambulance districts, with adjustments to fit the eastern district’s specific needs.

The commission, which has oversight for emergency ambulance service in the eastern portion of the county, is expected to award a long-term contract to an ambulance service. The commission is funded by a 2.5-mill property tax that was approved by voters in the November 2016 general election.

Stoppel said the initial contract likely will be a two-year agreement.

“Initially, we felt like a five-year contract was gonna be the way to go, but now we feel like a two-year contact would be the way to go,” he said.

The rough draft includes a timeline that calls for proposals to be due by Sept. 1, with the commission selecting a winning proposal on Sept. 5, a contract signed by Sept. 8 and service beginning no later than Oct. 1.

Ambulance service representatives who attended Tuesday’s meeting said a turnaround of less than 30 days between the signing of a contract and the beginning of service would be very difficult, especially if the service that is awarded the contract has to buy new ambulances. A more realistic time frame would be somewhere between 60 and 120 days.

“We’re under the crunch, so we’re gonna push that crunch off to whoever’s gonna step up and do it,” Stoppel said.

Stoppel acknowledged that the timeline laid out in the rough draft likely will have to be modified.

“Those timelines may have to be adjusted, but at least it’s something to shoot for,” said Stoppel, who added that he felt it was important to have a defined goal rather than leaving the timeline indefinite.

The rough draft asks ambulance service providers to submit proposals for three options.

Option A would include two fully staffed advanced life support ambulances, each staffed by one emergency medical technician and one paramedic, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Option B would include two fully staffed advanced life support ambulances 24 hours a day and seven days a week, with a third advanced life support ambulance 12 hours a day and seven days a week, with each of the three ambulances staffed by one emergency medical technician and one paramedic.

Option C asks bidders to submit alternative proposals that meet the performance standards and other requirements described in the contract language.

Green Forest Mayor Charlie Reece objected to the idea of giving bidders options.

“I would say ‘this is what has to be here. No options,” Reece said. “This is very important to the citizens of Carroll County. They need to have assurances (about what level of service will be provided).”

Stoppel said the commission would discuss the issue further.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, secretary-treasurer Amy Leivan said she deposited $28,987.97 into the commission’s bank account earlier that day, bringing the balance to $209,383.04. The commission also voted to pay attorney Curtis Hogue of Fayetteville $852.50 for work performed in July.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, in the courtroom of the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville.

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