Logansport Fire Chief Mark Strong said the fire department would likely obtain a basic life support ambulance and use it as a backup when Rural/Metro gets inundated with calls. He said the ambulance would only be used for transfers from emergency scenes to Logansport Memorial Hospital and that costs could be recovered through patient billing. He added the fire department already has the staff to support an ambulance and maintain its firefighting duties.
Slusser said employee retraining has been conducted to mitigate paramedics and emergency medical technicians getting lost and arriving to scenes without proper equipment.
City council members raised some concerns during budget talks that because Cass officials have a contract with Rural/Metro, it is the county’s responsibility to provide the area with adequate ambulance services.
These concerns were reiterated at the meeting Friday through the suggestion of the county contributing some of its own finances toward improving ambulance services.
“What about the county gets some skin in the game here?” Logansport City Councilman Bob Bishop asked the two Cass County commissioners at the meeting.
Commissioners Sailors and Ralph Anderson said the county couldn’t afford contributing tax dollars toward ambulance services, which is why it hired a company that sustains itself on patient billing.
Anderson added the county provides a mechanism for incorporated cities and towns to fund services like this on their own through portions of a local option income tax.
While Logansport gets about $600,000 a year from that tax, none of it was used toward the allocation for the ambulance in its 2014 budget.
In an interview after the meeting, Franklin said this fund is currently being used to build up anticipated future expenses like replacing police squad cars and fire trucks, two of which are 13 years old.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or email@example.com. Follow him: @PharosMAK