Owensboro Officials Studying Future of Ambulance Service

Officials are considering changes in ambulance service in the city.
Changes could be coming to emergency care in Owensboro. Officials are considering re-structuring how ambulances are managed in the city. Among the ideas are letting the city run its own ambulance service.

People change. Governments change. Health care changes.

"We've been working on this study for 10 months, and a lot of that shifting took place during that study," says Owensboro Fire Chief Steve Mitchell.

Owensboro officials are looking at their own changes, considering eight different ways to manage ambulance service in Owensboro, ranging from public-private partnerships to those run by the city or hospitals.  The changes could cost as much as $2 million.

"It is my job to have a contingency plan at all times to serve the community at all times," Mitchell says. He adds it's needed because of changes in health care caused by the Affordable Care Act.  One of those: a shift to more at home care provided by EMS crews.

"There's some home health care now, you'll see that increase two or three fold, where people are treated in their own homes, as opposed to going to the ER," says Mitchell.

Currently, the city has a deal with Yellow Ambulance that's renewed annually, but ends in 2018.

"We want some type of enhanced system," Mitchell adds. "We want the best possible, cost effective means to services to the customers. We want good response times."

Mitchell says any changes won't happen until 2016 at the earliest.

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