Ben­ton County, NW Health EMS reach agree­ment

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­ports

WEST­SIDE — Ben­ton County, the cities of Gen­try and De­catur and North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices an­nounced on Oct. 17 a new col­lab­o­ra­tion to serve western Ben­ton County res­i­dents.

The new agree­ment will place three Ad­vanced Life Sup­port am­bu­lances in the west side of Ben­ton County while sav­ing Ben­ton County res­i­dents more than $195,000.

The new agree­ment en­com­passes EMS ser­vices for the fire districts in Sul­phur Springs, Gravette, Maysville, De­catur, Gen­try and Gal­latin, in­clud­ing the cities of Gen­try and De­catur.

The city of Gravette will con­tinue to pro­vide EMS ser­vices within the city lim­its of Gravette and Sul­phur Springs.

This agree­ment be­tween Ben­ton County and North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices will be­gin Jan. 1, 2019.

Com­ple­men­tary agree­ments be­tween Gen­try and De­catur with North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices are sched­uled for fi­nal ap­proval in the com­ing weeks with the re­spec­tive city coun­cils. Those agree­ments will also be­gin on Jan. 1.

Cur­rently, Ben­ton County con­tracts with the cities of Siloam Springs and Gravette for EMS ser­vice on the west side of un­in­cor­po­rated Ben­ton County. Since 2013, con­tract costs be­tween Ben­ton County and those two cities have risen from $85,000 to $623,717. The new agree­ment with North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices is $292,705 per year for

three years, with op­tions for ex­ten­sions.

“Both Siloam Springs and Gravette have told us their costs for run­ning am­bu­lances into un­in­cor­po­rated Ben­ton County have been rapidly in­creas­ing,” said Ben­ton County Judge Barry Moehring. “Our agree­ment with North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices gives us the op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress those cost in­creases, while at the same time pro­vid­ing more life­sav­ing equip­ment and per­son­nel to west-side res­i­dents.”

With the new agree­ment, North­west Health will be plac­ing an am­bu­lance in Gen­try and in Gravette. Ad­di­tion­ally, a North­west Health am­bu­lance cur­rently sta­tioned at Siloam Springs Re­gional Hos­pi­tal will also help cover 9-1-1 calls, ex­pand­ing EMS cov­er­age in the re­gion. In ad­di­tion to in­creased ground am­bu­lance sup­port, North­west Health will be pro­vid­ing air med­i­cal ser­vices through AirE­vac, its air med­i­cal part­ner.

Siloam Springs will still main­tain an agree­ment with Ben­ton County for EMS cov­er­age in the Siloam Springs Fire Dis­trict. This is a re­duc­tion in the ter­ri­tory cur­rently cov­ered, which in­cludes Gen­try, Gal­latin, part of the De­catur and part of the High­fill fire districts, in ad­di­tion to the Siloam Springs dis­trict.

The new three-year agree­ment with Siloam Springs is $141,000 per year, a re­duc­tion from the cur­rent cost of $429,000, which was agreed to in 2018.

In ad­di­tion to the con­tract be­tween North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices and Ben­ton County, the col­lab­o­ra­tive agree­ment will in­clude three-year con­tracts be­tween Gen­try, De­catur and North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices. In this agree­ment, De­catur will pay North­west Health $35,750 per year for three years and Gen­try will agree to pay North­west Health $72,150 per year for three years. De­catur cur­rently con­tracts with Gravette for EMS ser­vice while Gen­try con­tracts with Siloam Springs.

“The in­cor­po­ra­tion of Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices from North­west Health with ex­ist­ing ser­vices in western Ben­ton County means that our cit­i­zens, neigh­bors and vis­i­tors could ex­pe­ri­ence a more rapid re­sponse to their med­i­cal needs,” said Gen­try Mayor Kevin John­ston. “This could al­low more time for pa­tients to re­ceive the most ap­pro­pri­ate care from the most ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­ity in the most ap­pro­pri­ate time frame. Cou­pled with the op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­mu­nity out­reach through re­sources and ed­u­ca­tional sup­port, this part­ner­ship will con­tinue to show newly rec­og­nized ben­e­fits for many years.”

“The city of De­catur is pleased with this agree­ment. Three ad­di­tional am­bu­lance units lo­cated on the west side of Ben­ton County will im­prove re­sponse times and that will be a bless­ing,” said De­catur Mayor Bob Tharp. “De­catur is a com­mu­nity that has a large num­ber of in­dus­trial work­ers em­ployed in our town at any time. That num­ber in­creases our cur­rent pop­u­la­tion, so hav­ing a stronger ALS ser­vice pres­ence will be good. With the pro­jected growth for the cities of De­catur and Gen­try, this pro­posal will en­able our cities to pro­vide med­i­cal ser­vices to our con­stituents and vis­i­tors for the fu­ture.”

Gen­try Fire Chief Vester Cripps says this ad­di­tion of ser­vice for all of western Ben­ton County will im­prove the com­mu­nity’s well­be­ing.

“The Gen­try Fire De­part­ment is ex­cited about the pos­si­bil­ity of North­west Health Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices com­ing to Gen­try and pro­vid­ing Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices to the res­i­dents of the Gen­try area. We are con­fi­dent they will pro­vide a great ser­vice and re­duce re­sponse times for the res­i­dents of Gen­try,” said Chief Cripps.

North­west Health CEO Den­ten Park says he looks for­ward to work­ing with Ben­ton County and ex­pand­ing the health care ser­vices for cit­i­zens.

“We’ve been blessed to serve Ben­ton County res­i­dents for many years with two hos­pi­tals and nu­mer­ous clin­ics lo­cated in the county,” said Park. “We are ex­cited about this new part­ner­ship with the county to ex­pand emer­gency ser­vice ca­pa­bil­i­ties for cit­i­zens in these com­mu­ni­ties,” said Park. “To en­sure the high­est level of care and ex­pand treat­ment op­tions, we’re proud to pro­vide three ad­vanced life sup­port am­bu­lances with place­ment de­signed to im­prove re­sponse times to the western cor­ri­dor of Ben­ton County. Dur­ing a med­i­cal emer­gency, every se­cond counts, so this re­sults in en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of health care for pa­tients.”

Sub­mit­ted/BEN­TON COUNTY

Map show­ing new am­bu­lance ser­vice in western Ben­ton County, be­gin­ning on Jan. 1, 2019.

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