County plans new ambulance service with resolution
SCHUYLER COUNTY--The Schuyler County Legislature voted Monday, July 11 to approve a resolution to begin the process of creating a county general ambulance service through the use of federal American Rescue Plan recovery funds.
The resolution states, "over time and for various reasons fewer volunteers to staff this critical service have been available to answer the call, and it is anticipated that this decline will only continue, thereby leaving a significant part of the county without direct emergency service coverage and placing a significant strain on the other parts of the system...county officials, having met with one or more existing not for profit volunteer ambulances associations, have determined that currently no such existing entities within the county continue to have sufficient trained and experienced personnel to provide adequate ambulance coverage within Schuyler County and to regularly meet the generally accepted rural ambulance response standards and the parties are currently unable to develop the synergies necessary to solve the EMS crisis."
"We need to make sure this passes, this is probably the most important thing to come across the legislature in 40 years," said Legislator Phil Barnes.
According to County Administrator Fonda Chronis, while the resolution was approved to create the service, the plan for implementing it is still in the formative stages. Careful to call early plans fluid, there is already $400,000 in funding from the American Rescue Plan the county is planning on using to create the service. While the ambulance service will require further funding, there was no discussion Monday as to where that would come from.
"There are three different ways to go about this, we need to pick the right one," said Legislative Chair Carl Blowers.
The resolution also says, "the Schuyler County Legislature hereby finds and determines that there is a demonstrated absence, reduced availability or inadequate level of care in ambulance or emergency service available" and directs officials to "apply for and obtain a municipal Certificate of Need effective October 1, 2022."
Chronis said the current plan is not yet ready for public viewing because it is not finished.
"I am afraid that it will cause more questions than we can give answers at this moment in time because (the plan) is very fluid," said Chronis.
Also during the meeting, Chronis updated the legislature on the budgeting process, telling them that weekly meetings are already underway.