Jefferson County examines ambulance services
FAIRFIELD, Iowa —
40 years of private ambulance service and now, Jefferson County is exploring the possibility of switching to public.
“Even if we were to stay in the world of private ambulance service, I firmly believe that the contract has to look much different than what it looks like now," said Jefferson County Supervisor Lee Dimmitt.
Dimmitt serves with the Jefferson County Ambulance Agency, a board made up of three governing bodies; the Jefferson County Health Center board, Fairfield City Council, and the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors.
In 2012, the agency ended a contract with local provider, Jefferson County Area Ambulance and entered a new one with the Midwest Ambulance Service of Iowa. That contract doesn't expire until 2020, but the county is already planning its next step.
Private or not, Dimmitt wants to see changes. For starters, he says a paramedic should be on every unit that goes out, no matter the price tag. That's not a requirement on the current contract.
"If you aren't authorized or certified to perform certain services, then those services are not available to you in an emergency situation out in the field," Dimmitt said.
Response time has also been a concern, though, Dimmitt says that has improved considerably in recent years.
Dimmitt expects this issue to come up during Monday's supervisor meeting. He's turning to his fellow board members for some direction. The plan looking forward is to negotiate a higher level of service with their next provider.
"I want the residents of Jefferson County to have every possible service allowed by law available to them," Dimmitt said.