Jefferson County’s Council and Commissioners will hold a joint session next week to discuss a request by Norton King’s Daughters’ Health asking the county to increase it’s funding for emergency medical services from the current $100,000 annually to $500,0000 in 2024.
Council President Ray Black Jr. said at Tuesday’s County Council meeting that a letter was received one week ago requesting the increase.
On Thursday, Carol Dozier, chief executive officer of Norton King’s Daughters’ Health, released a statement about the request for additional financial support. She said the request is a response to recent increases in operating costs. The increase requested would be for $250,000 in 2023 and $500,000 each for 2024 and 2025.
“Across Indiana and Kentucky, most EMS (ambulance) services are provided by local county governments,” Dozier said. “Operating an ambulance service includes investments into ambulances and hiring of personnel to cover an operation that must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The county’s contract for ambulance services through the local hospital dates back prior to Norton’s acquisition of KDH in January 2022.
“For more than three decades, Norton King’s Daughters’ Health has provided Emergency Medical Services coverage for Jefferson County, Indiana. This commitment has saved Jefferson County taxpayers millions of dollars, including more than $4.5 million since 2019,” Dozier said. “Norton King’s Daughters’ Health has been working with Jefferson County officials for several years. By working together, we can ensure that local residents will continue to receive the best emergency services possible. It’s important to all of us who live and work in Jefferson County.”
Black suggested the possibility of an interlocal agreement with other local government entities in Jefferson County to contribute towards ambulance service costs. “I think not only is the county benefiting, but all other municipalities are, and I think that there might be a need for interlocal agreement, and for them to contribute to that.”
“I completely agree with that,” Council member Chris Shelton said. “This is a sizable sum and it would be the responsibility of every tax base entity so it would be Madison, Hanover, Dupont, Brooksburg and the county.”
Council member Heather Foy concurred that since the benefits are throughout the county that the municipalities should also contribute, and the agreement “should happen soon” before those entities begin planning their budgets for 2024.
However, the Council also wants to hear from the County Commissioners before doing anything. “There definitely needs to be further discussion with the Commissioners,” said Shelton. The Commissioners typically are at attendance at County Council meetings but a road school transportation conference was being held this week, and that schedule conflict prevented them from attending.
The decision was made to schedule a joint session with the County Commissioners and County Council. On Thursday morning, Sarah Morgan, administrative assistant for the Commissioners, confirmed that the meeting has been scheduled following the next Commissioners meeting which is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 23.
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