Contract with EMS station ending

Friday, October 24, 2008
Tribune photo by Clint Confehr County Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Neill, left, refers to a contract for the now-closed ambulance station on Mooresville Highway as NHC Administrator Scott Bidwell, right, looks on.

Marshall County's Emergency Medical Service Committee is recommending that the County Commission rescind its contract with an assisted living center on Mooresville Highway.

Scott Bidwell, administrator of the Murfreesboro-based NHC-owned facility for seniors, asked that the contract be ended because of the condition of the portable building that's been used for the ambulance station for about a year.

Closure of the ambulance station has increased response times by up to two minutes, according to James Whorley who moved his staff to the new and much larger headquarters on South Ellington Parkway.

"I know time is critical in an emergency," Whorley said, "but so is the health of the employees."

Mold has grown in the air conditioning and heating ducts of the portable building the county obtained from the helicopter ambulance service based at Ellington Airport. The mold has become overpowering, Whorley said.

NHC struck its contract with the county so an ambulance station would be close to the seniors served by the Murfreesboro company, but Bidwell said the portable structure is worth about $2,000 to $2,500 and his employer has paid $6,000 for its maintenance.

The western-most EMS station has been on land owned by NHC.

"We came to the decision that it's not worth doing," Bidwell said, explaining why he was asking the county to dissolve the contract.

EMS Committee Chairwoman Reynelle Smith said, "I think it would be the right thing to do."

Commissioner Dean Delk, a member of the EMS Committee, moved to recommend the county dissolve the contract and the vote was unanimous.