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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

IU Lifeline Ambulance mutual aid policy changes as increase in Lawrence County ambulance 911 calls

LAWRENCE COUNTY - NOVEMBER 14, 2023 - The Lawrence County 911 board has revised the IU Lifeline ground ambulance mutual aid policy for sending the county ambulances to other counties on mutual aid or county ambulance stand-by.


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The orginal 911 dispatch agreement stated that if there was two IU transport ambulances available the 911 dispatchers could send an ambulance to the county line for stand-by coverage.


The increase in in call volume in Lawrence County has caused Lawrence County Emergency Management Director Valarie Luchuaer and Deputy EMA Director Scott Smith to revisit the policy.


The new dispatch policy states that three ambulances must be available for county residents, before a ambulance is sent to the county line. This does not include the Lawrence County Fire Territory who responds outside the fire territory.


Lawrence County Commissioners do not compensate the Lawrence County Fire Territory ambulance for any coverage to the county.


Lawrence County Fire Territory was created to provide ambulance coverage for Guthrie and Shawswicck Townships. But, in a agreement with the 911 board the Lawrence County Fire Territory must respond to calls throughout Lawrence County if IU Lifeline has no ambulance available.


Additionally, IU Lifeline Bloomigton ambulance has relied on other counties for more than 10 years to provide ambulance coverage for the more than 95,000 residents it serves.


None of the ambulance services from other county's are compensated by IU Health Lifeline or Monroe County officials for their services. This has created a huge financial burden and lack of ambulance coverage for those counties.


The Monroe County Ambulance board has not allowed any other private ambulance service to be added to its 911 service, as IU Lifeline had exclusive 911 service.


The Monroe County Ambulance Board policy has overwhelmed other county's ambulance services EMS systems.


Despite Monroe County having a large tax base and a large Public Safety Funds Monroe County Commissioners has not addressed the situation.


A motion by Lawrence County Commissioner Dustin Gabhart and Seconded by Ted Maze who serves on the Lawrence County 911 board voted to implment the new policy.


According to IU Lifeline officials due to staffing issues they have not yet billed Lawrence County for the $4 million the Lawrence County Commissioners approved for 911 coverage.


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In another related matter the Lawrence County 911 board voted last month to reject a proposal to exclusively use Lifeline air ambulance for scene calls in Lawrence County. The Lawrence County 911 board voted to keep the current policy in place.


For breaking news, and information go to lczephyr.org or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


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