HCHD continues EMS consolidation discussion

Discussion on the consolidation of EMS services in Hutchinson County continued Monday evening during the regular meeting of the Hutchinson County Hospital District Board of Directors.The proposal that has been discussed for several months now is the possibility of consolidating the EMS services of Borger, Fritch, and Stinnett into a County EMS that would be managed by the HCHD.A system has been currently operating between the cities of Borger and Fritch in terms of alternating calls. It has been done in such a manner as if the EMS for both cities were already consolidated, and so far it has proven to be successful.Dr. Jock Lee, DVM, chairman of the board, asked if there were any new developments in the process moving forward. Mike Barter, head of the Borger EMS, said there was not much new information. He said the finance committee needs Fritch’s financial statements from last year as the process continues.Barter said in his discussions with Bobby Lamb, the Fritch City Manager, Lamb thinks the Fritch City Council will go for it, and is open to discussion if all the details are worked out in a proper manner.Board member John Edgington wanted to know what details still need to be worked out. Dennis Jack, CEO of Golden Plains Community Hospital, said the council probably still needs details as to what the costs will be to consolidate. Dr. Lee said he wanted to know what the district could count on in terms of the process continuing to progress.In terms of the City of Stinnett, board member Jim Corbitt said the city wants to know exactly what to expect and how all the pieces will fit together. He said the city is willing to look at a proposal and explore the possibility of a test period similar to what the cities of Borger and Fritch have done. According to Corbitt, if the money issues pertaining to the consolidation are satisfactory on both sides, the City of Stinnett could possibly be receptive to the process.Corbitt said the city manager in Stinnett is interested, and he will continue meeting with him about the possibility of consolidation.Sue Giesler, RN, LP; Director of Emergency Services/Respiratory Care for GPCH, was asked what she pictured in terms of the consolidated service. She said she pictured a four-truck service, with one truck in each town and a transfer truck that would be on call, and the fleet would be a countywide fleet.Dr. Lee said it was his understanding that the district was not interested in buying any of the existing property owned by the ambulance services, and the consensus was mutual. Barter said the EMS equipment can stay in the respective cities, but the equipment must have the ability to move freely if needed.Presently, the HCHD subsidizes both Fritch and Stinnett EMS using tax revenues for amounts agreed upon in annual contracts. Fritch receives $2,416.25 monthly and Stinnett receives $2,060 monthly. HCHD manages the Borger EMS.