Ambulance commission moving forward with RFP

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Eastern Carroll County Ambulance District Commission still hasn’t secured interlocal agreements with the three cities included in the district, but the commission is moving ahead with its plan to request bids from ambulance service providers.

At a meeting on Friday, Sept. 29, commissioner Amy Leivan said she had spoken with the commission’s attorney, Curtis Hogue of Fayetteville.

Leivan said Hogue had received an email from Clint Scheel, who serves as city attorney for both Berryville and Green Forest, requesting additional information about the interlocal agreements and the commission’s Request for Proposals (RFP).

The commission, whose creation was approved by voters in eastern Carroll County in the November 2016 general election, has oversight of emergency ambulance service in the portion of the county east of the Kings River. The commission began meeting in January and has completed a 29-page RFP. The interlocal agreements would commit the cities to using the ambulance service provider selected by the commission.

Green Forest Mayor Charlie Reece, who attended Friday’s meeting, has been critical of the RFP for what he describes as its complexity but moreso because the RFP gives ambulance services the opportunity to submit bids for each of three “options.”

Reece said he and Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney recently met with Scheel. He said the mayors have the authority to sign the interlocal agreements once their questions are answered.

“Mayor McKinney and I both have council approval to sign, whenever the lawyers say go for it,” he said. “… It’s not gonna be a huge issue but there’s still some things that I’m not comfortable with and Mayor McKinney is not comfortable with, either. But we’re not gonna hold up the process.”

McKinney echoed Reece’s concerns in a telephone conversation Monday.

“We have some concerns and questions,” he said. “We just asked them to address those before we sign the interlocal agreements. … One of my concerns is the fact that they’re bidding it three different ways.”

Option A in the RFP would include two fully staffed advanced life support ambulances, each staffed by a minimum of 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 a minimum of 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.

Commission chairman David Stoppel has defended including the options in the RFP, saying it will the commission an idea of what level of service might be available beyond a bare minimum.

Leivan said at Friday’s meeting that Hogue has advised the commission to proceed with the RFP, even without the interlocal agreements.

Stoppel said he would work on getting maps of the service areas included in the district and revise the timeline included in the RFP.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville.

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