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Southern Indiana officials discuss path for EMS services after Jamey Noel arrest

Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association station on Utica Pike in Clark County
Aprile Rickert
/
LPM
Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association station on Utica Pike in Clark County

Officials in Clark and Floyd counties say they don’t expect service with New Chapel EMS to diminish, following the recent arrest of operator and former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel. But Floyd County is moving up its search for other options, in light of his charges.

The officials say they’ve been in frequent contact with leadership at New Chapel EMS — the provider that serves much of Southern Indiana — since the investigation and recent arrest of Noel.

Noel faces 15 felony charges including theft and ghost employment. He’s currently out on bond awaiting trial scheduled for May.

Floyd County Commissioners President Al Knable said the county has been assured there won’t be changes in service from New Chapel, which covers most of the county except the city of New Albany.

“I have confidence that we have coverage today that’s just as good as it was at the beginning of the year,” he said.

But the county is still going to consider other options. Knable said there was already a need to update the current service, taking into account factors like population growth. They initially planned to send out requests for proposals in spring. Now, they’re planning to do that before the end of the year.

“I think any time somebody’s charged with issues as serious as that, we have to scrutinize it,” Knable said. "It just seems like the prudent thing to do.”

He added that he feels New Chapel and its board of directors have handled the situation well, and that he thinks “they’ve done everything in their power to carry this forward.”

Floyd County and the Utica Township Firefighters Association, which does business as New Chapel, are currently operating under an extension to a contract entered in 2017. The county has paid $220,000 annually since New Chapel added a third ambulance to the rotation in 2019.

In Clark County, New Chapel has provided at least partial coverage for more than two decades. They took over full coverage of the county several years ago.

Clark County Commissioners President Jack Coffman said county officials don’t have plans to look elsewhere for services based on Noel’s arrest.

Clark County entered an agreement in 2020 to pay $700,000 annually for ambulance services after New Chapel stepped in to help fill in gaps in services with the county’s previous provider.

In April 2022, the county extended that by nine months at the new rate of $1.05 million annually, after the Clark County Health Department and the EMS subcommittee of the county’s 911 board selected New Chapel from two providers.

Clark County entered a new three-year agreement with New Chapel earlier this year, to lock in the current price.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.