The Edwards County Board of Commissioners voted to pursue an agreement that would see Wabash General Hospital operating basic life support for the county’s emergency medical services during their August regular session Monday morning.

Duane Lear, Chairman of the Board, informed his fellow commissioners that a proposal from the hospital to take over the Edwards County EMS was received by the board. Lear inquired WGH representatives about such a proposal during a joint meeting of the county board and the Edwards County EMS Board of Directors in June, following a presentation by hospital CEO Karissa Turner regarding what t would take to upgrade the service to advanced life support.

“Did you come up with an estimate for what it would be at the EMT rate only?” asked Lear during the June meeting.

Tamara Gould, Chief Operating Officer for Wabash General, gave a quick estimate of $24,000 for personnel costs, as well as $1,700 in administration costs in response to the question. The details of the official proposal submitted to the county board were not mentioned during the August meeting.

Upon stating that they had received the proposal, Lear noted that the hospital requested that the county board express a willingness to continue pursuing such a course with a vote.

“What they said is they would like this board to put it to a vote whether we wanted to continue on that path or not,” he said. “So we have to decide.”

One member of the board queried what benefit it would be to the county to turn over BLS service to Wabash General.

“What advantage does that have for the county?” asked Commissioner Matt St. Ledger.

Under such an agreement, WGH would manage all personnel matters, according to Lear.

“Basically they would provide the employees for the day-to-day operations,” he said. “We would still provide the building and the ambulances.”

Those currently employed by the service would receive the same benefits as other hospital employees as well. It was not stated during the meeting how much of an additional cost these benefits might put on the county when compared to the service’s current expenditures.

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