With the current TransCare contract set to expire Dec. 31, the commissioners and Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband set out to come up with a scope of work proposal in a special meeting Monday.
After receiving numerous complaints about the current services, the commissioners agreed they needed to make some changes to the contract.
"There are too many loopholes now," Commissioners Paul Sinders said. "We want to narrow it down and be specific to ensure we get what is best for the residents of the county."
One of the biggest complaints acknowledged and discussed during the meeting regarded response times.
"With all the calls and complaints we receive about response times, there has to be a problem," Sinders said.
Currently, a TransCare unit is stationed in Brazil, while another is in Clay City. It was suggested having the ambulances centralized in an area on State Road 59, between Interstate-70 and State Road 46, but Husband said it may not be the best idea.
"It's not the first run that gets us," Husband said. "It's the situations where there are two or three at the same time that creates the issue."
Sinders added he would also like to see a standby ambulance unit stationed near I-70 and SR 59 so it would be able to respond in an adequate amount of time in any direction rather than one being inside the county line "just to adhere to contractual obligations."
Husband explained the standby ambulance moves around based on where other calls are made and is near the Clay/Vigo line at times to be able to respond to calls in Vigo County as well.
"The highest concentration of calls comes from the Brazil area," he said. "The standby unit will be at different places, including sometimes at the (United States 40/SR 340) split depending on where the first call is dispatched to."
"We don't want to narrow things down to the point where we are only left with one option to consider," Sinders said. "While having certain abilities -- like experience with a 911 system and having their own dispatch service -- are definitely beneficial, we don't want other companies to feel we are ruling them out without at least considering them."
However, one term the commissioners and Husband agreed to make mandatory is that the commissioners must be notified off all current service charges and immediately contacted with any modifications of those charges.
"Presently, rate changes are at the discretion of TransCare, and the commissioners have to request information on the new service charges," Commissioners President Charlie Brown said. "I get calls quite a bit asking why someone was charged a certain amount, and I have to tell them to contact TransCare with that question."
Sinders added, "Considering the county is subsidizing an ambulance service with county funds, we should be made aware of the changes, at least out of common courtesy."
Some of the other qualification terms include:
* Mandatory -- Offer First Responder and EMT classes to area fire and rescue personnel at a minimal cost to support local response efforts with the ambulance service,
* Mandatory -- Provide standby units for county and community events while leaving emergency units for response,
* Preferred -- Participate in county organizational meetings planning and exercises like LEPC, County Fire Chiefs, EMA, Health Department, Hospital and ECT, and
* Dispatch/Communications -- Establish guidelines to help relieve first responders from making unnecessary runs, saving them response costs when not needed.
The commissioners added to the scope of work that the contract may be for up to three years with an annual review and "all other parts of the contract will remain and be reviewed and are subject to negotiation."
The scope of work was sent out to numerous ambulance services in the area Tuesday, and quotes must be returned to the Clay County Auditor's Office by noon, Friday, Nov. 13.
The commissioners will review the proposals in a special meeting at 10 a.m., Monday, Nov. 16, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.
The next regular meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 2, at the same location.