Short Ambulance Council meeting doesn’t produce agreement

The meeting was shorter — by more than two hours — than last week, but when the Chickasaw County Ambulance Council adjourned Monday night, the result was the same: No agreement.

Ambulance Council members voted unanimously to make a formal two-year contract offer to the Chickasaw Ambulance Service and adjourned, but Ambulance Service owner Jeremy McGrath did pass out a counteroffer to each of the nine members of the council after the meeting.

The Ambulance Council’s offer would pay McGrath $141,894.70 during the first year and then about $146,000 during the final year of the contract.

Ambulance Council members said the contract would allow McGrath to hire a full-time paramedic and a full-time EMT, as well as cover the costs he would incur by paying volunteers an “on-call stipend” of $2 per hour.

After the Council adjourned, McGrath told members that “you know we’re going to deny this. We had something drafted, but we weren’t given that opportunity.”

McGrath said his proposal is to charge $165,000 the first year of the contract and $195,000 the second year of the contract. He would again have the option of opting out of the contract by giving the Ambulance Council six months’ notice while the Ambulance Council would not have the same option.

“I’m making the investment,” he said after the meeting, “and I’m not going to be able to hire a paramedic or an EMT if they know there’s a chance that six months down the road, we could be out.”

McGrath said unlike his original three-year contract bid, one in which he was charging $365,000 per year, his latest proposal does not include accepting Medicaid, saying that low reimbursement rates make it a losing proposition for his business.

So where do we stand today?

No one was quite sure. The Ambulance Council did not set a time or date for its next meeting.

— For more on this story, refer back to nhtrib.com and see the May 21 Tribune

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