Erwin board approves WC/JC EMS ambulance agreement

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Jun 24, 2019 at 9:33 PM

ERWIN — The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday approved the interlocal agreement needed for Washington County/Johnson City EMS to implement its one-year ambulance service agreement with Unicoi County effective July 1.

With Mayor Doris Hensley and Aldermen Michael Baker away at a Tennessee Municipal League conference in Nashville on Monday, the remaining board members approved the agreement by a 4-0 vote.

Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff noted agreement is contingent on the approval of both the towns of Erwin and Unicoi as well as the county and includes a 60-day termination clause that can be implemented with or without cause.

WC/JC EMS extended the $218,000 service offer to the county earlier this year with the understanding that its intent is to help Unicoi County establish its own, locally controlled ambulance service in order to improve service and staff retention.

Hammered out over several weeks of negotiations, the Unicoi County Commission unanimously approved the agreement on June 14.

Ambulance Committee Chairman John Mosley said at that time the commission will watch the new service’s revenues and expenses over the next five to six months before deciding whether it will move ahead to establish a locally controlled service for the county.

The Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the interlocal ambulance agreement on June 17 with the stipulation that the county “make every attempt” to put the ambulance contract back out for bid by private service providers.

Under the terms of agreement, WC/JC EMS will station two advanced life support ambulances in Unicoi County 24-hours daily seven days a week and one basic life support ambulance 10 hours daily five days a week.

Staff members currently employed in Unicoi County by MedicOne Medical Response will become temporary employees of the Washington County service beginning July 1.

The agreement also requires Unicoi County to pay $100,000 of the total $218,000 cost of the agreement upfront for start-up expenses. Unicoi County commissioners voted Monday to pay that cost with $100,000 of remaining $343,000 the county received from the sale of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital.

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