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Oldham EMS chooses finalist for management outsourcing

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By Tracy Harris

Oldham County EMS board members voted Monday to formalize a contract with Baptist Health Affiliates, Inc. to outsource OCEMS management duties.

Baptist Health Affiliates is part of the Baptist Health Care system, which also operates Baptist Northeast in La Grange.

A team of six evaluators considered the five responses received after the board released a request for proposals April 9.

The evaluators reviewed the submissions independently, and board member Stan Clark, also the county's CFO, said evaluators agreed Baptist stands out as the best fit.

The proposal submitted by Baptist says all employees will be retained at or above their current salaries, as long as they meet standard hiring conditions like a background check.

Clark said Baptist will also offer some benefits above what employees currently have, including matching retirement contributions and providing disability coverage.

Baptist was the only not-for-profit organization to submit a proposal, which works well with OCEMS's own tax-exempt status.

According to Clark, training will continue for community members and first responders, who provide assistance and backup to OCEMS.

OCEMS will also continue to station an ambulance in North Oldham and will continue using existing Oldham County Dispatch services.

Baptist currently owns another ambulance company, Mercy Regional EMS, in Paducah.

Baptist officials will now need to develop a formal contract, Clark said, which he hopes will be finished this week.

Clark said he would like to have an employee meeting later this month. The RFP asked companies be able to take control of operations by July 1.

Two other companies, Yellow Ambulance and American Medical Response, were asked to keep their proposals open in case a deal cannot be struck with Baptist.

The remaining two proposals, from Rural/Metro Ambulance and Medic-1 Ambulance, were rejected.

The Oldham County Ambulance Taxing District will retain control of the agency and ownership of its facilities and equipment.

The change will remove employees from the state's hazardous duty retirement plan. Clark said the hazardous duty plan will cost OCEMS $650,000 this year.

Tom Clark, a dentist, is the OCEMS board's other member. A third position remains vacant.