By Malcolm Butler
The City of Ruston and Pafford EMS both presented their proposals to the members of the Ambulance Committee during Thursday morning’s meeting in the Jack Beard Room of the Lincoln Parish Library.
In the ongoing discussion regarding who will handle ambulance and rescue for the parish starting January 1, Chief Chris Womack presented the city’s proposal while Shane Davison presented Pafford’s proposal.
Ultimately, the Ambulance Committee is tasked by the Lincoln Parish Police Jury to bring a recommendation to the October 11 meeting.
The City’s proposal includes both ambulance and rescue while Pafford’s is solely the ambulance side. Pafford EMS would handle the ambulance component (combined with LP Fire District for rescue) if that’s the direction that the Lincoln Parish Police Jury ultimately decides.
The LP Fire District is scheduled to present their official proposal during next Thursday morning’s scheduled Ambulance Committee Meeting. There was some question by members of the committee why LPFD didn’t present their proposal during yesterday’s meeting, but Ambulance Committee Chair Charlie Edwards stated that he was told they weren’t ready.
Some of the main bullet points from the City of Ruston’s proposal include:
- Ambulance and rescue for entire parish
- 5-year proposal
- effective January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2027
- $645,604 Base Annual Payment Amount in Year No. 1
- Base Annual Payment Amount adjusted by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U – Southwest Region) each subsequent year of contract starting in Year No. 2
- Lincoln Parish residents will have their insurance billed and payment accepted. LP residents will be liable only for amounts paid by government and/or commercial insurance (including Medicare and/or Medicaid)
Another key point of the contract stipulates that if the Lincoln Parish Police Jury decides to utilize another entity (Lincoln Parish Fire District) for its rescue services, then it must provide a 90 day notice prior to Dec. 31 of any year of the contract.
The City would then continue to provide emergency medical services to the entire parish for the “then Base Annual Payment Amount as adjusted by the CPI-U … less $100,000.00.”
Simply, the City would take $100,000 of its annual fee for that year since it would relinquish the responsibilities of rescue outside the city limits of Ruston.
Some of the key bullet points of the Pafford EMS proposal include:
- Ambulance service for the parish outside the city limits of Ruston
- 1 year contract (starting January 1, 2023) with the option to be renewed by the LPPJ for five additional successive periods
- at least a 90 day notice would need to be provide to Pafford EMS prior to the expiration of the contract if the LPPJ opted to non-renew
- $360,000 per year with no annual increase, paid in monthly installments of $30,000.00
- would offer a $60 annual membership fee to each household that would eliminate any bill being owed once insurance (commercial and/or Medicare/Medicaid) has paid. This would also cover anyone without any type of insurance.
There was lengthy discussion over the ANI-ALI component of Pafford EMS’ current setup and the fact the company isn’t currently considered a PSAP (public safety answering point) and would have to instead utilize a ring down line from 911 transfer calls.
Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Mike Rainwater had originally voiced a concern back in an August Ambulance Committee meeting on this communication piece. During yesterdays meeting, Davison addressed this and stated that Pafford EMS was working with Rankin (Miss) County to piggyback off of their PSAP capabilities.
Both Davison and Rainwater admitted that it would most likely take at least a year to get this fully operational. And although this isn’t a breaking point, it’s a communication piece that Davison said Pafford EMS is working toward solving if at all possible.
Although the Lincoln Parish Fire District will present their formal proposal next Thursday, some financial numbers have already been provided and discussed.
The annual operating cost for the LPFD to handle rescue outside of the city limits would be $478,000 per year while some additional capital expenses would exist. Those were initially reported as $141,000 in year No. 1, $212,000 in year No. 2 and $87,000 in year No. 3 and would cover much-needed rescue equipment.
However, Richard Aillet mentioned in Thursday’s meeting that some grants were available to help off-set some of the capital expenses. Thus, some of these numbers could change.
According to Chief Womack, the city’s proposal is the same thing (outside of the increase in cost) that it has been providing to the parish for “the past 48 years.”
Womack and Davison both reiterated numerous times during Thursday’s presentation that all three entities (City, Fire District and Pafford) have an outstanding working relationship and will continue to have a collaborative working partnership regardless of the outcome.
It was also requested by Ambulance Committee member Jackie White and others on the committee that the agenda for next week’s meeting include the ability “to act” on the proposals if ready, thus giving the committee to vote on what to recommend to the LPPJ.
The LPPJ is scheduled to meet again on Oct. 11.
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