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Panel could vote today on EMS, rescue provider

Thursday, September 22, 2022
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The Lincoln Parish Police Jury Ambulance Committee meets today at 9 a.m. at the Jack Beard Room of the Lincoln Parish Library and may vote on its recommendation for which EMS and rescue provider(s) the parish should engage for rural residents.

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury Ambulance Committee could vote today on recommending providers for rural emergency and rescue service beginning Jan. 1.

The panel meets at 9 a.m. to “receive and discuss” a finalized proposal from the Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District for rescue service, then “discus and take action” on all the proposals before it, according to wording on the proposed agenda.

Whatever recommendation the committee makes goes to the police jury for final action.

As of the last proposals provided, the panel is looking at a cost range from a base $645,604 from the city of Ruston to continue providing both ambulance and rescue service in 2023, to between roughly $828,000 and $1 million for Pafford EMS and the fire district to provide the services in 2023.

“If they’re ready to vote, they can make a motion and we can vote,” committee Chairman Charlie Edwards said. “I get the feeling everybody’s ready to do something.”

But the committee may not get the fire district’s finalized rescue proposal until shortly before a vote is taken — contrary to earlier requests from some committee members.

“ I think we will receive it (this morning),” Edwards said Wednesday.

In August, the district gave the panel a single-page cost estimate, but several meetings later said it wanted to tweak the plan to reflect possible grant money to offset capital expenses.

At issue is which agency, or agencies, will provide ambulance and rescue service once the police jury’s contract with Ruston ends at midnight Dec. 31. The Ruston Fire Department currently provides both services — and has for almost 30 years.

RFD has made an offer to continue both. Pafford EMS has submitted a proposal for ambulance service only — the company does not do rescue — and the fire district has submitted a rescue plan. The district does not have ambulances.

Though the fire district and Pafford proposals technically are not a package, in effect, they are. That’s because there are no other proposals for either service separately.

Here are the highlights of the proposals:

• Pafford EMS: A one-year contract for $360,000. That number would drop to $310,000 if, as fire district board Chairman Richard Aillet requested last week, Pafford removes a $50,000 one-time donation to the fire district. Any subsequent renewal would go back to $360,000. The contract has options to renew annually for up to five years.

The proposal does not include a built-in escalation for inflation. Pafford would provide one advanced life support ambulance stationed at a yet- to- be- determined location in the parish 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pafford would also pay for installation of a ring-down line to the connect to the parish 911 dispatch center.

Pafford will bill for its services, but some of that could be offset for people who buy a $60 annual membership.


• Ruston Fire Department: $645,604 annually for both ambulance and rescue service for five years with a five-year renewal option. The contract also has an annual inflation adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index. RFD is already part of the 911 dispatch; no changes would be needed. Patients would be billed only what Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance would pay.

The city proposal includes language that would allow the police jury to choose another rescue provider with a 90-day notice prior to Dec. 31 of any year in the contract. If the jury did that, the Ruston cost for ambulance service only would drop to $565,604.


• Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District: The fire district’s is a three-year proposal with annual operating expenses of $478,000 plus a 5% contingency, which would bring the operating total to $502,000. The operating expenses aren’t expected to change, even with tweaks, parish fire Chief Kevin Reynolds said following the committee’s Sept. 15 meeting.

Capital expenses under the proposal given the committee in August are split over three years. The first year was originally set at $141,000, but that may change if the district gets grants and other funds. The second year was pegged at $212,000 and the third year at $86,500.

There’s also an additional $500,000 for a rescue truck not plugged into a specific year of the three-year plan.