Health and Welfare Committee approve purchase of new ambulance

Published 2:39 pm Friday, July 14, 2023

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Star Correspondent

The Health and Welfare Committee has approved the purchase of a new ambulance for the Carter County Rescue Squad.

Commissioners have been discussing the purchase of a new ambulance for months. The committee previously added the purchase to a list of important projects to be funded through the American Rescue Plan, but it eventually was removed from the list as it moved through committees.

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The ambulance was a necessity at the time it was added to the list, committee member Daniel McInturff said.

Commissioner Robert Acuff, who is not on the Health and Welfare Committee, said the ambulance purchase was apparently removed from the list by the Budget Committee.

Committee member Angie Odom made a motion Thursday to purchase an ambulance at a cost not to exceed $222,000.

“Let’s make sure our people can get to the hospital when they need to,” Odom said.

The committee unanimously approved the motion. It will now be sent to the Budget Committee for consideration.

Rescue Squad Director Terry Arnold said the organization needs new ambulances. One current ambulance has at least 400,000 miles, he said. The lowest mileage for an ambulance at the Rescue Squad is about 100,000.

In addition, Ballad Health has promised to provide a new ambulance for the county. If the county were to not approve the purchase, Ballad would not match the purchase, Arnold said.

Ballad announced its plan to provide an ambulance to the county on June 8.

A grant from Ballad Health will secure the purchase of the ambulance, according to a Ballad news release.

“Stationing the ambulance at Sycamore Shoals will help alleviate the strain on transportation from rural areas of the county, ensuring patients from every pocket of the region have full access to acute care services,” the release states.

The stipulation from Ballad is if the county purchases an ambulance, Ballad will purchase one, Committee Chairman Nick Holder said.

Acuff said the county has several ways to purchase a new ambulance, including funds from the unassigned budget line.

If the county purchases an ambulance, Arnold said the Rescue Squad will purchase and provide a cot for the vehicle. A cot costs about $25,000, he said.