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Floyd County officials start talks on new EMS contract bids

 Jason Sharp, Floyd County Commissioner and president of the Floyd County EMS Advisory Board.
Courtesy of Jason Sharp
/
LPM
The Floyd County Commissioners and Council are expected to further discuss the EMS bids at a joint meeting Feb. 27.

The Floyd County EMS Advisory Board kicked off the discussion this week to select a provider for a new EMS contract. New Chapel EMS, whose contract with the county expires at the end of May, and AmeriPro Health submitted bids.

Floyd County officials are moving toward a new contract for EMS services.

This week, the Floyd County EMS Advisory Board discussed two bids submitted as part of a recent request for proposals. They came from New Chapel EMS, which currently serves most of Floyd County under a contract that expires in May, and AmeriPro Health.

“We're trying to look at a system that is going to give our community what it feels like it needs from our emergency medical services,” EMS board president and Floyd County Commissioner Jason Sharp said. “And while we do that, it gives us an opportunity to explore other options as well for the future.”

County leaders had already planned to look at updating its service needs this spring, but expedited that process amid the ongoing criminal investigation of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, sending out the request for proposals sooner than planned. Noel previously operated New Chapel. He’s now facing 25 felonies, some involving his time leading the company.

The bids 

New Chapel’s bid would cost $960,000 the first year. That would increase to $988,800 the second year and just under $1.02 million in the third year.

Sharp confirmed New Chapel’s bid included three ambulances and a paramedic response vehicle, with the ambulances to be at advanced EMT status within 18 months.

Floyd County pays $220,000 for the current contract with New Chapel.

AmeriPro proposed two options — one which adhered to the RFP specifications and another with one less ambulance than requested. The first would cost just over $1.5 million annually. This option would include three paramedic units and one paramedic quick response vehicle.

The second option would include one less paramedic ambulance and cost the county $936,996 annually.

Concerns about New Chapel amid Jamey Noel investigation 

Floyd County Health Officer Dr. Tom Harris, who’s also an ER doctor and serves on the EMS board, said he wasn’t aware of issues with improper run types with AmeriPro, adding that “has not been the case with some other services.”

He also pointed to AmeriPro having a presence in multiple states as a plus.

Harris said he does have some concerns about New Chapel, including some runs that had what he believed were “inappropriate levels of care.” He also broached the criminal investigation involving Noel and New Chapel.

“There's significant concerns about command and control of the group,” Harris said during the meeting. “... And I have significant concerns about, quite honestly, the transparency and the honesty that we've had from this group before.”

Commissioners president and EMS board member Al Knable commended New Chapel Interim Chief Matt Owen for his leadership and communication with county officials amid the investigation.

“But enough has happened that the reputation of the organization has taken this significant hit,” he said, asking Owen to provide insight.

Owen acknowledged the concerns prompted by the investigation.

“This is something that we are going through. This is not who my organization is,” Owen told the board, noting New Chapel leadership is working to address concerns. “And … the people that work on the field in Floyd County and Clark County, that's not who they are.”

He said these aren’t conversations he wants to avoid, adding New Chapel staff is invested in the community.

“This is where we live, this is where we work,” he said. “Our people care about Floyd County, and if given the opportunity will continue to serve.”

Officials also asked Owen about missing financial documentation in the bid — information that would show the company’s financial stability.

“I can't put my name behind financials that I'm not confident in,” Owen said. “We're in the process of auditing everything that we do. And once we have something that we're comfortable with, we're happy to share that with you.”

He later confirmed to news media New Chapel is preparing for an internal audit by a third party. He also said service hasn’t been impacted by Noel’s arrest.

New Chapel’s contract includes a provision where the company would have to pay penalties if it doesn't meet the contract expectations. Owen also said if Floyd County chooses AmeriPro, New Chapel would help with the transition.

The Floyd County Commissioners and Council are expected to further discuss the EMS bids at a joint meeting Feb. 27. The EMS board will revisit the topic at its March meeting.

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

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