CHICKASAW COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) – The Chickasaw County Ambulance Council voted 5-3 Monday night not to approve a renegotiated contract with the Chickasaw Ambulance Service.
“Volunteerism, in general, is something that’s lacking in today’s society,” said Jeremy McGrath, with the Chickasaw Ambulance Service.
Its a lack of volunteers and lower payments from privatized Medicaid — that caused McGrath to up his price for the service.
In January, he proposed a new contract with the county, costing about $300,000 more.
“What I proposed to the ambulance council is down to the dollar and cents to add 3 full-time paramedics, a full-time EMT, and a part-time EMT,” said McGrath.
But so far, the council has said no, trying to negotiate instead.
“I think we made some headway, but it’s still at the point where there’s no means to fund that,” said Fredericksburg Mayor Shain Kroenecke was one of the few yes votes at a meeting Monday night regarding a lower proposal of $165,000 for the first year and $365,000 for the following two.
As it currently stands the service has rigs in New Hampton and Nashua. If they were to dissolve the closest ambulance would be in Charles City, roughly 20 miles away. But according to Mcgrath, they’re already understaffed.
Council saying McGrath didn’t give them enough time to adjust their budgets.
“I think we as a board have a lot of work to do in the next two months, to get this figured out,” said Kroenecke.
MercyOne in New Hampton also weighed in, saying they support renegotiation with the ambulance service.
If an agreement isn’t reached the county would have no ambulance service as of July 1st.
KWWL reached out to three of the other people on that ambulance council, including its chair.
We asked him for a comment but have not heard back just yet.
Chickasaw County Superviosr Steve Geerts who sits on the ambulance council released a statement saying:
“We need to do a lot of work to close the gap. If there is no money in the county or cities budget it’s going to take a miracle to come up with the ambulance request for that much money. No one denies that we have a great group of volunteers that make up most of the ambulance staff. In the future, I’d hope the state of Iowa would make ambulances an essential service like the fire service is. In most cases a fire department is tax based. In most cases, you don’t get a bill for the services too. I hope we get the differences worked out one way or another.”