New ambulance service contract pinpoints expected response times

Published 8:07 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2019

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Haynes Ambulance will provide ambulance services for the City of Troy again fro at least the next two years after the Troy City Council approved a new contract Tuesday with the company.

The approval follows action by both the Pike County Commission and Brundidge City Council to accept the contract.

In the request for proposals (RFP), the city sought for the ambulance service to respond within city limits in seven minutes or less on 90 percent of calls. The RFP was sent out to seven or eight different companies according to Troy Fire Chief Michael Stephens, but Haynes was the only to respond.

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Instead, Haynes offered to arrive within 10 minutes of being dispatched on 50 percent of calls.

The language establishes fines if the ambulance service does not respond in the expected response time at the percentage in the contract.

Although it was not at the level requested, Stephens said the counteroffer by Haynes still puts “teeth” into the contract that was not there previously.

“There are a lot of communities that do not have fire-based EMS running into same issues we have right now, cities smaller and bigger than us,” Stephens said. “And I’ve talked to half of the fire chiefs in Alabama. This is a very competitive bid, although we lose some of the competitive side when we only have one bid. We have an option to go back and fine them if they do not meet these standards. It’s not as good as what we asked for, but better than what it had been.”

The prior contract did not include any way to ensure the ambulances were arriving within a certain response time, Stephens said.

Haynes did offer a second option that would have met the demands on response time by adding three more ambulances – but it would have required a $70,000 monthly subsidy from the City of Troy and Pike County Commission.

Stephens said a meeting of a committee composed of representatives from Troy, Brundidge, the county commission and law enforcement agreed that the first option, which is unsubsidized, was the best route for the area.

Stephens said the fire department’s own ambulance typically responds within three to five minutes if a Haynes ambulance is not expected to be able to reach the scene faster. That is for the Troy fire district only, not for the entire county, although Stephens said in special instances

“Dispatch gets on pretty quick,” Stephens said. “If our truck gets there quicker, our truck is coming.”

Troy was the last entity to approve of the contract.

In other business, the council:

• Approved to contract for services with the Pike County EMA, the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center and the Troy Arts Council.

• Approved a professional services agreement with Cobbs Allen to provide a cancer policy for firefighters, as mandated by the state legislature. Stephens and Mayor Jason Reeves said the fire department has taken other steps to reduce the likelihood of Troy firefighters developing cancer, including upgraded equipment.

• Awarded a bid to Bill Jackson Chevrolet for $37,542 and to Bill Jackson Ford for $29,446 to replace two Recreation Department vehicles that are each more than 10 years old and have over 150,000 miles on them.

• Awarded a bid to Bill Jackson Ford for $34,871 to purchase a new vehicle for the deputy fire chief position.

• Approved a three-year extension of a power supply agreement with Exelon Generation Services. Reeves said a rate has not yet been set but that he expects it to be better than the current rate.