CLB Makes No Decision On Ambulance Service
Last night the Cocke County Legislative Board gathered for a special meeting to decide on a new ambulance service for the county. At the end of the meeting which lasted about 2 hours, the CLB voted to do…nothing. Bids were put out months ago for a new ambulance service for the county. Two ambulance companies submitted bids, Priority Ambulance…the current provider who bought out First Call last October. The second was AMR/Lifeguard who is a nationwide company operating in 47 states with 38,000 employees nationwide and has a huge prescence in Knoxville. Priority already has the prescence in Cocke County but was the higher of the two bids. AMR/Lifeguard, which would have to move their operation into the county had the cheaper bid. One change that AMR stated they would make, would be to have 911 dispatchers handle the dispatch of an ambulance directly, instead of calling the ambulance service and the ambulance service then roll the emergency vehicle…as is done by Priority right now. E-911 Director Nancy Hansel brought up concerns about liability to the county as current dispatchers are not emergency medically trained.
After hearing presentations from both companies, the CLB which was short on numbers as 4 CLB members were not in attendance and one more had to leave before any votes were called…could not make a decision. A motion was made to accept the bid for the higher priced but familiar Priority contract but that motion failed. There were not enough members present to counteract any no votes. A futile motion was made to accept the AMR contract which of course failed. Finally the CLB decided to postpone deciding on a new ambulance service to a later date when they could have the full board present. We will let you know when that will be. The CLB is running out of time though as the current contract with Priority Ambulance Service runs out in July and if AMR is chosen they are requesting 90 days to get set up but could do so in 60 days.