Phillips Fire Department takes action in Hamilton County ambulance issue

Phillips Fire Department takes action in Hamilton County ambulance Issue. (NTV News)

Hamilton County's October 1st deadline for discontinuing ambulance services is now on hold, as the county keeps the ambulance service going for now.

County officials say they wanted to find the most sustainable and cost effective way to handle ambulance services because they say they were paying too much -- $800,000 a year.

County commissioner Rich Nelson said "the whole point of the deadline of October 1st was to get stakeholders to the table with solutions."

Although this summer, there were four proposals, Nelson said it has now been narrowed to 3. The first proposal is to combine the fire and ambulance services with the City of Aurora. The second, creating a new private service: Rescue 28. The third, to go with Midwest Medical, another private company.

For now, the decision is still on standby.

Employees say they will not work for a private provider.

The county has budgeted enough money to continue to support the county ambulance service after the October 1 deadline, and is meeting paramedic needs temporarily. The county is planning for ambulance employee's additional stipends, housing for the paramedics to stay in during their shift, and retention bonuses until a further decision is made. There is no set date on termination as of the end of September nor any public hearings.

Nelson said the county wants a speedy process, and that is exactly what the Phillips Fire Department said it wants to do, with yet another strategy.

The Village of Phillips is trying to send a message to county commissioners.

"With us going after our BLS (Basic Life Support) transport license, if the county commissioners decide to discontinue the Hamilton county ambulance, we will be signing an interlocal agreement with Aurora city based ambulance," said Jason Fry, Phillips Fire Chief.

Fry said they don't want privatized ambulances that don't put patient care first. He also said they have full support of the Phililps village board and the Rural Fire District and will keep a piece of the pie away from the hands of private companies.

Phillips Fire Department does not want the Hamilton County ambulance service to discontinue but if it does, they are making it firm that they want the City of Aurora to continue the services, not private companies.

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