Countywide EMS system now in operation

 SHELBY COUNTY -  It was originally expected to be in operation July 2025, but with what county officials said was “ a lot of hard work from a lot of people, the Shelby County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system is now up and running.
 “I am proud of the way everyone has done their part,” Shelby County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Kenkel said at a special Board of Supervisors meeting held Tuesday, November 28. “The whole county has come together.”
 Last week, the Board announced notification had been received from Medivac Ambulance Corp. (Medivac) that without an increase of funding from the county, the company would not be able to provide the service it had provided for several decades beyond November 30. The Shelby County Ambulance Commission, comprised of the county, the City of Harlan, and Myrtue Medical Center (MMC) under a 28E agreement, had contracted the privately owned Medivac to provide ambulance service.
 Stakeholders for the countywide service put a plan in place within a few weeks, and the Board announced the service will be fully staffed and operating by the Friday deadline.
 At the meeting Tuesday, the Supervisors approved the purchase of the Medivac building, located at 812 Cyclone Ave. in Harlan. The building was purchased for $95,000, which was less than the appraisal price of $107,500. County Attorney Marcus Gross said the building will be leased for $1,250 for one month, or until the sale transaction of the building is finalized, for $1,250 a month. Gross said that amount will be prorated to the closing date of the building.
 The Board also approved the purchase of $27,550 worth of equipment from Medivac. The county took possession of the equipment and the building December 1.
 Jordon Sanders, who was appointed Interim EMS Director, said with the exception of the owners of Medivac, all Medivac staff members have been hired by the county. There will be seven paramedics, including six full-time and one on-call, and four EMTs.
 “We are as staffed as we need to be,” Sanders said. “We’re ready to go. Everyone is excited.”
 Sanders also said signage has been ordered, and decals will be changed on the vehicles.
 The meeting also included an addendum to the Shelby County Ambulance Commission agreement, changing funding of the 28E agreement to the county operated service; the approval of an Ambulance and Rescue Service Agreement, which is the same agreement the county had with Medivac; approving PCC as the EMS billing provider; and setting up a bank account for EMS.
 An EMS and health insurance budget amendment hearing date was set for Tuesday, January 2. Tax funding for the countywide EMS system will be collected starting in September of 2024, until then, an interfund loan will be needed and will be repaid in 2025, after the tax funds have accrued.
 Kenkel thanked everyone involved in the transition, and offered a round of applause to those instrumental in completing the task.
 The Harlan City Council met in special session Tuesday to approve the Addendum to the Joint 28E Agreement the city has with the Ambulance Commission. The council also approved using Harlan Fire & Rescue personnel as a transport service for countywide EMS. “Previously, if both squads were out and a third call came in, we could respond, but would have to wait for transport,” Fire Chief Roger Bissen said.
 “This makes it possible for us to transport the patient, which is better and more efficient,” Bissen said.
 Bissen, who is a member of the Shelby County EMS Advisory Council, said he is confident in the new service.
 “We got the necessary things done this week, and we will continue to work on the details as needed,” he said.



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