Daviess Fiscal Court and Owensboro City Commission officials will soon vote on a joint-resolution to restructure the 20-year-old Medical Control Authority (MCA) and renaming it the Ambulance Contracting Authority (ACA).

The ACA, as it has done in the past, will oversee the ambulance contracts and services provided to the citizens of Owensboro-Daviess County to ensure that all contractual obligations are being met. The current area ambulance service provider is America Medical Response (AMR) Inc.

According to Mayor Tom Watson, the decision to update the parameters of the city-county ambulance partnership came after the fiscal court and city commission parted ways with Owensboro Health regarding the three-way split of the $150,000 subsidy for AMR's ambulance services and OH's refusal to provide backup ambulance services.

The new backup ambulance service — Evansville-based Deaconess — would only step in if AMR's contract were to terminate prematurely. The agreement does not contractually obligate Deaconess to provide backup to AMR in cases of ambulance shortages or any adverse event.

"I think it is a good way to put this back into the county and city government's hands," Watson said. "We hope to have an adjunct member from the hospital, if they will participate. It all stems back to the negotiations over ambulance services. I think it is a good plan. We just wanted to freshen it up and be as responsible as we can in ensuring that the needs of the community are met. Since we (city and county) are participating in the service, we want to make sure that it is the way it should be."

The ACA will consist of members of the area's first responding organizations as well as community members, and it will only have purview with the area's ambulance services, said City Manager Nate Pagan.

"The judge (Daviess-County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly) largely initiated the name change to articulate exactly what the board (ACA) does," he said. "Medical has a much larger meaning than ambulance. With the past name, we would get referrals outside of the scope of the board. All that the board has ever done or will continue to do is oversee the ambulance services. The judge and I administer the contract with AMR, but the board acts as our enforcement mechanism."

Aside from the change in name, Mattingly said the ACA will also reorganize its board structure and bylaws establishing board protocols courtesy of Daviess County Attorney Claud Porter and Owensboro City Attorney Steve Lynn.

"The city will have three members, and the county will have three members consisting of a representative of the sheriff's office, police department, county fire department, city fire department and two community members," he said. "These will be the voting members with the county attorney, city attorney, 911 director as well as a representative from Owensboro Health serving as auxiliary members. The county will vote on the resolution at our next meeting (Dec. 5), and the city will vote after. When we have signed the joint resolution, we will jointly call the first meeting to establish bylaws moving forward. Even if things would have worked out with the hospital the way we wanted it to, we would still have recommended these changes. The board will act on the best interests of the county and city."

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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