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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Emergency Management director says ambulance coverage has improved with $4.4 million contract

LAWRENCE COUNTY - DECEMBER 21, 2023 - According to Lawrence County Emergency Management director Valarie Luchauer, ambulance coverage has improved since the Lawrence County Commissioners approved a $ 4.4 million contract to IU Lifeline Ambulance service.

The Lawrence County Commissioners awarded the four year contract using American Rescue Act funds to pay for the $ 4 million contract.

This came after residents in the City of Bedford and Lawrence County waited for more than 45 minutes for an ambulance.

IU Lifeline Ambulance is contracted to provide contractual ambulance coverage in Brown, Lawrence, and Morgan Counties.

Monroe County Commissioners or Monroe County 911 board does not provide a ambulance contract for ambulance coverage.

" Everything has been positive. We are not without an ambulance like in the past," said Luchauer.

" We want to thank you fo all your work on this," said Lawrence County Commissioner Dustin Gabhart.

The Lawrence County Fire Territory started providing Basic Life Support ambulance coverage at the first of the year which has helped provided additional ambulance coverage to the City of Bedford, Town of Oolitic, City of Mitchell and Lawrence County.

" Thanks to Shawswick Township we have not had any lack of ambulance coverage and both ambulance services work well together,"

Lawrence County Fire Territory is funded by the Shawswick Township and Guthrie Township residents.

Photo: Lawrence County Fire Territory provides additional ambulance coverage in Lawrence County

However, the Lawrence County Commissioner do not provide funding for the Lawrence County Fire Territory to provide the additional ambulance coverage to other locations in Lawrence County.

The IU Health contract provides one Advanced Life Support Ambulance, two Basic Life Support Ambulance, and one Advance Life Support chase vehicle (Squad).

The Dunn Hospital Plaza houses an ambulance in addition to the ambulance office on 16th Street. There is not an ambulance station in the City of Mitchell any longer.

IU Lifeline contract pays $300,000 from April 1, 2023 - December 21,2023. The annual stipend will increase to $400,000 a year in 2024,2025, and 2026 to $400,000 a year.

IU Lifeline Ambulance still is struggling to provide ambulance coverage to Monroe County's 95,000 residents. The lack of ambulance coverage has been a financial burden on surrounding counties and leaves those counties without the proper ambulance coverage.

Monroe County with the largest tax base and Public Safety funds has not addressed the situation which problematic pre-COVID. Monroe County Ambulance Board has not allowed other ambulance providers to provide 911 ambulance coverage.

The Lawrence County ambulances have provided stand-by and mutual aid coverage on a daily basis due to the situation.

A IU Lifeline ambulance was recently totaled after a drunk driver struck the ambulance at the intersection of 16th and State Road 37 on November 18,2023.

Photo: An IU Lifeline EMT was injured in a traffic accident at 16th Street and Indiana State Road 37 caused by a intoxicated driver in November

IU Lifeline will bring a new ambulance that was designated for a different county to help keep the ambulances in the county and continued ambulance coverage without a lapse in coverage.

An EMT was seriously injured in the crash and just recently released from the hospital.

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