• 61°

Committee continues discussions about EMS services

For nearly a year, a committee of city and county officials has been working on a way to improve and bolster EMS services in Clark County.

Those discussions are continuing, as the committee seeks more data and ideas moving ahead.

Following a meeting Wednesday to discuss a proposal from Breathitt-Wolfe EMS, the members agreed to meet again later this month and continue the discussion.

EMS Services in Clark County are provided by Winchester Fire-EMS. The City of Winchester and Clark County jointly fund the EMS part of the agency.

Committee member and Winchester City Commissioner JoEllen Reed said a decision may be forthcoming, based on updated data from Clark Regional Medical Center and Winchester Fire-EMS.

“I know Breathitt-Wolfe is very interested in getting something resolved,” Reed said.

Breathitt-Wolfe EMS was the only EMS provider to submit a proposal to the committee’s request for agencies interested in taking transfer calls from Clark Regional Medical Center. Reed said two other agencies, AMR and Estill County, asked questions about the proposal, but neither submitted a proposal.

Breathitt-Wolfe, a privately-owned company, currently has a mutual aid agreement with Winchester Fire-EMS to take transfer calls when the city crews are on other calls.

Clark County Magistrate and committee member Chris Davis said there were a couple of concerns about the content of the proposal, including who receives the first call about a transfer call: Winchester or Breathitt-Wolfe.

If Breathitt-Wolfe gets the call first, Davis said he was concerned it could set a precedent to “cherry-pick” transfers based on insurance, which could mean more expense for Winchester and Clark County.

“I questioned whether that was a good idea to go into a long-term agreement,” he said.

Depending on how the governments vote, Breathitt-Wolfe could have a more permanent presence in Clark County.

“I do know Breathitt-Wolfe is planning to hire additional staff … if they are selected,” Reed said. Presently, Breathitt-Wolfe is having employees stay at a local hotel, but would keep an ambulance in Winchester full-time if their proposal is selected, she said.

City Commissioner Ramsey Flynn, who also serves on the committee, said a number of other ideas were discussed during the meeting, but no action was taken.

“There’s really no right answer,” he said. “There’s only the best answer. It’s good we’re sitting down and trying to find the best solution for Winchester and Clark County.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

email author More by Fred