Court hears ambulance proposal

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"This wasn't a real good month for the insurance company," Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said at the Dec. 10 regular meeting of the Fulton County Quorum Court.

Vandals recently caused $15,741.52 in damages to a bulldozer belonging to Fulton County. According to Willett vandals took the sparkplugs out of the bulldozer and put rocks and sand in the holes. The court agreed to appropriate the insurance money to pay for parts to repair the machine.

A second piece of heavy equipment required attention recently when the cylinder on a county 2000 Ford dumptruck came loose and caused the truck to overturn, "No one was injured," Willett said. The insurance company reimbursed the county $4,619.26, which was placed into the parts fund to repair the truck.

Following the trend, two fender benders occurred with Fulton County Sheriff's cars last month on two separate occasions, resulting in $8,204.31 in damages. The incidents were not with other cars, but deer. "They happened just about a week apart," said Fulton County Sheriff Dillinger. The court voted to place the money from the insurance company into the county general fund to repair the damage.

Barry Aldridge, chairman of the Fulton County Hospital Board, attended the meeting to discuss the ambulance service.

"What we need to have on our ambulance service is a collaboration between the hospital and the quorum court," Aldridge said. "The hospital has floated the ambulance service for a number of years."

The county currently pays the hospital $1,600 a month which pays for the ambulances themselves, Aldridge said.

The hospital is paying the salaries, fuel, expenses, insurance and employee benefits.

The way the hospital is structured, Medicare pays a fixed rate which is less then what the ambulance charges. This is causing the hospital to lose money, Aldridge said.

Aldridge said the hospital is proposing the county take over the ambulance service.

The county would be able to be reimbursed by Medicare at a higher percentage rate, enough to break even or make a small profit, according to Aldridge. The hospital would continue to do the billing for the ambulance service.

The court asked to see a proposal and figures from Aldridge. He will present the proposal at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Quorum Court on Jan. 14.

Aldridge told the court Baxter Regional Medical Center will have a lease agreement drawn up for the hospital board to look at around Dec. 19.

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