The Ashley County Medical Center board of directors has once again agreed to continue operating a service agreement with a Hamburg-based ambulance company.
The same night, the City of Hamburg ratified an agreement to help subsidize the service.
The hospital board made the decision at its regular meeting Monday.
“Ashley County Board of Directors decided we will continue what we are doing and we will review the progress and status at our board meeting in April,” a hospital spokesperson said Tuesday.
The hospital has had the operating agreement with FAST Ambulance Service since May, when the company leadership said they would soon be closing the business because of revenue losses. The agreement has allowed the hospital to underwrite the service’s losses to the point of breaking even.
The initial service agreement ended in October, but the board has continued it while a long-term solution to providing ambulance service in the mainline portion of Ashley County is worked out. The last review of the agreement was in January.
When the initial service agreement was set to expire, the hospital board said ACMC would not be able to continue financially supporting the arrangement and asked local governments to provide some funds. A number of Ashley County municipalities and the Quorum Court made commitments following the appeal.
At Monday’s meeting of the Hamburg City Council, the city government ratified a $1,000 a month contract with FAST.
“This is for as long as they are in business,” Mayor Dane Weindorf said. “If they go out, we won’t give it to them.”
The contract is similar to ones Hamburg has signed with the company in the past. In exchange for the subsidy, the contract says, “FAST shall provide, at a minimum, on a continuous 24 hour per day, seven day per week basis, one Advanced Life Support ambulance unit and, during peak demand times, a second ambulance unit which shall be either Advanced Life Support or Basic Life Support with certified and licensed personnel for each unit, both to be stationed in Hamburg.”