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Warren County leaders take a look at emergency response issue

Many in Warren County are urging county leaders to make changes when it comes to emergency response services. It comes after St. Vincent Hospital is using the county-owned ambulances to make transports to other hospitals.

Posted: Apr 18, 2018 6:28 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2018 11:39 PM

WARREN COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Many in Warren County are urging county leaders to make changes when it comes to emergency response services. It comes after St. Vincent Hospital is using the county-owned ambulances to make transports to other hospitals.

County commissioners, the county council and St. Vincent Hospital all met to discuss the budget Monday night.

The meeting between the county and the hospital was closed. County leaders did mention in a public hearing meeting that they are looking at the budget to see if they can make some changes.

As of now, Warren County and the hospital jointly provide the emergency ambulance service in the county. The county pays the hospital more than $300,000 a year to manage the ambulance service.

Recently, the hospital has been using the county-owned ambulances to make transports to other hospitals. At times, that leaves Warren County with no ambulances to respond to emergencies.

At the public hearing meeting, some spoke out saying St. Vincent should provide their own staff and ambulances to cover patient transfers. They would also like coverage 24/7 for county emergencies.

"I just want to have enough staff service our county 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," said Wade Armes. "I think that's what we would expect. I think if you were home calling an ambulance you would expect a local ambulance to show up, not somebody from a surrounding county."

Commissioners and the council said they have to look at the budget to see if that financially could work.

"We will continue to look at and implement funding solutions as needed, training solutions as needed and equipment solutions as needed," said Commissioner Steve Eberly.

The commissioners and council will continue to meet for the next several weeks. However, if the county has to pay more than $300,000 to add staff that would have to be paid for by taxpayer dollars.

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