Ambulance commission working on timeline
The Eastern Carroll County Ambulance Commission is moving forward with its plan to request proposals from ambulance service providers, but there are still some details to iron out.
The commission met Thursday, Oct. 5, and discussed a possible timeline for advertising to solicit proposals, then for receiving those proposals, evaluating them and ultimately awarding a contract to a company for the provision of emergency ambulance service in the eastern portion of the county.
Commission chairman David Stoppel said attorney Curtis Hogue of Fayetteville, who represents the commission, has approved a newspaper ad soliciting proposals. The next step, Stoppel said, is to have the ad published for 30 days. Stoppel said Hogue suggested that the commission consider having the ad published in trade publications for the emergency medical industry as well.
The commission discussed a tentative timetable that would have the ad running through Nov. 8, with a “prebid” meeting Nov. 10 to answer questions from potential bidders. Proposals would be due Nov. 17, with the commission opening the proposals on Nov. 21 and awarding the contract by Nov. 28.
Robert “Bob” Patterson, executive director of emergency medical services for the Mercy healthcare system, suggested that the initial ad might not be subject to a 30-day requirement. Instead, he said the commission might be able to publish the ad for 10 or 15 days. He suggested that the commission get a definite answer regarding a 30-day requirement and prepare an alternate timeline in the event that the ad can be published for a shorter period.
Emergency ambulance service east of the Kings River is currently being provided by Mercy and Southern Paramedic Service of Brinkley, with assistance as needed from North Arkansas Regional Medical Center and Eureka Springs Fire and Emergency Services. None of those services is currently receiving any compensation from the county and both Patterson and Southern Paramedic operations director Allen (Bubba) Usrey indicated that they would like to see a contracted provider in place as soon as possible.
Stoppel said he would contact Hogue regarding how long the ad has to be published to satisfy legal requirements. The commission will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville to discuss the timeline. That meeting will be followed immediately by a workshop to begin work on a system for evaluating and scoring proposals.