MOUNT VERNON — Knox County 911 Operations Director Laura Webster updated county commissioners Thursday about her program, offering that Monroe Township and its volunteer fire department is moving toward dissolving its emergency medical services (EMS) agreement with Pro Care Medical Transportation Service by the end of the year, when it expires.
After having severed its formerly long-standing fire-and-EMS agreement with College Township at the end of last year, the Monroe Township VFD and the trustees in charge of its operation want to be able to provide their own EMS functions, she said. And there are a few reasons for that. One is that Pro Care must give priority to private calls for EMS service, such as from Knox Community Hospital, she said.
So the potential has existed that a private call taken by Pro Care would have priority over a 911 call from within Monroe Township, thus requiring mutual aid from another EMS department to respond. The closest mutual aid is from College Township, which Monroe fire and EMS split away from. This also may make mutual aid responders such as other fire departments reluctant to call Pro Care for mutual aid since they prioritize private service calls, she said.
County Commissioner Bill Pursel, a former Monroe Township trustee who was involved with the split between College and Monroe, said Pro Care is obligated to his knowledge to provide two ambulances at all times at Knox Community Hospital. One of them could potentially respond to Monroe Township if necessary. But those two ambulances are not always at the hospital, Pursel said he has learned. One or the other may be out on other calls due to being stretched thin.
Messages were left Thursday for Pro Care CEO Jarrod Strouth, and for Neil Bower, a Monroe Township trustee who is also its fire department chief.
Monroe Township Trustee Kevin Henthorn said Thursday it has always been the intent of Monroe Township to provide its own EMS services in the near future. In the meantime, Pro Care has done