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Ambulance task force discussions discontinued


In Monday’s regular meeting, the Cheyenne County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to discontinue the formation of an ambulance task force.

Last month, the commissioners discussed a proposed ambulance task force that would perform a fiscal evaluation for services provided within the county.

Currently, the county’s ambulance service is provided by Emergency Response Care (ERC), which is based in Sidney and under the operation of Regional West Medical Center (RWMC). The service is under a three-year rolling contract with the City of Sidney and Cheyenne County.

In one meeting last month, Jason Petik, CEO of Sidney Regional Medical Center, said that the ambulance service is subsidized for around $250,000 a year and that part of the task force would be to evaluate that cost.

“Maybe it’s just time to evaluate what those dollars are actually buying the taxpayers of Cheyenne County,” Petik said.

Randy Meininger, manager of ground ambulance services with ERC, said that they “submit an annual report of cost analysis that currently breaks down to about nine cents per day per capita in Cheyenne County.”

In Monday’s meeting, Meininger said that after the last meeting, he was able to talk to some of the different crews.

“One of the big concerns that they had was education and being able to have EMTs,” he said.

Meininger said that after seeing the need of EMTs in the region, RWMC paired up with Western Nebraska Community College to offer an academy that helps with tuition reimbursement.

District 3 Commissioner Philip Sanders said that the biggest problem was lack of communication.

“Hearing the questions that were coming up and they were getting answered, that solved a lot of issues,” Sanders said.

SRMC Board Chairman Bill Pile said that he cares deeply for all of the communities around the area and was glad to see some collaboration.

County Commissioner Darrell Johnson made the motion to stop pursuing the ambulance task force.

“At this time, I don’t think we need one,” Johnson said. “If we do further down the line, we can all come back again. We have an ambulance service, it’s all been addressed, it’s a good service and it’s working fine for us.”


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