SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County commissioners renewed the contract for services with Rocky Mountain Ambulance, LLC, Tuesday morning. The board also voted unanimously to subsidize the emergency medical service to the tune of $170,000 for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2015.
County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller explained the contract review is standard procedure.
“We look at this contract annually,” she said. ‘We’ve had a meeting with Rocky Mountain (Ambulance) to see where they’re at with charity care, write-offs, the new (Affordable Care Act) and how its affecting Medicare payments, and this is one of the other avenues of the county we have to look at.”
Obermueller acknowledged the contract for medical services is unique in that the private company is subsidized by the local municipal and county government.
“It’s a county service, but we’re also subsidizing that service,” she said, adding this year’s subsidy has been negotiated down $5,000 from last year.
Commissioner Steve Maier reflected that the subsidy is essential for public safety.
“Nobody likes to do a subsidy, but the reality is we’ve asked them to provide service countywide, which includes the mountain, it includes Arvada, it includes a wide variety of distances and they can’t turn people down,” Maier said.
“So they, like the hospital, have a significant write-off and we get to review their financials.”
Maier provided more commentary in an effort to thwart any potential sticker shock for board members.
“There was a time not too long ago we had a public ambulance service that was being subsidized in the million-dollar plus. Working with the private sector, we’ve got it down to a total of a couple hundred thousand dollars and I think the service has been good.
“Nobody likes subsidies, but we want to guarantee our citizens service anywhere in Sheridan County, so we have to do this,” Maier said, adding that he appreciates the contributions of the county’s numerous fire departments and municipally owned ambulances that assist in emergency responses within the area as well.
Also at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting, the Sheridan County BOCC:
• awarded a contract to install a fireproof pond liner at the Sheridan County Airport Fuel Farm to ShotCrete Montana, based out of Absarokee, Montana. ShotCrete will install a product called Milliken CC-8 Concrete Cloth in compliance with regulations established by the Department of Environmental Quality. The project will cost $27,296.
• acknowledged the receipt of a conceptual master plan for the Sheridan County Airport. Ryan Hayes, of Mead & Hunt Consulting, presented a plan to reorganize the existing county air terminal and add floor space to departments when and if enplanements increase.
“This is to recognize that when the enplanement situation turns around, when the air service situation turns around at Sheridan County Airport, you will have a plan to move forward that involves a new terminal building,” he said, indicating another main priority of the new facility plan would be to separate commercial and general aviation traffic.
• unanimously approved the continuation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the Wyoming Guardian Ad Litem program.
“The GAL program, in summary, offers legal assistance to children in need,” Obermueller said. “This could be for supervision cases, parental rights, etc. These attorneys are funded by the state and we, as a county, are required to pay 25 percent of their fees.”
• agreed to begin the process of vacating a portion of Upper Big Horn Sheridan Road that is on the property of the county airport. The heavily used portion of the road will remain open.
• renewed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Wyoming Department of Health’s Public Health Division to support a local maternal and child health program.
“We do staff a county nurse to fill this position, but it is 100 percent funded by a grant,” Obermueller said.
• agreed to accept Countywide Consensus Block Grant Funding.
“The legislature again approved in the (2015-2016) biennium, $70 million to be distributed statewide. Sheridan County’s portion of that is 5.62 percent of that, which is $3,936,635,” Obermueller said.
The money will be divided among governmental entities in Sheridan County after individual resolutions are approved.