Trustees consider fire district resolution

Fire district would exclude UVMC campus due to high call volume

By Melanie Yingst -

CONCORD TWP. — In response to rising medical transportation costs, Concord Township Trustees are considering creating a fire district that would exclude Upper Valley Medical Center campus from its levy-supported contract services with the city of Troy’s fire and medic department.

On Wednesday, trustees were provided draft resolutions by the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office attorney Chris Englert, who explained how the trustees could proceed by creating a fire district within the township. Troy Fire Department Chief Matthew Simmons also attended the meeting.

If the fire district is created, it will continue to provide services to all Concord Township residents and businesses as usual and will exclude fire and EMS services to the Upper Valley Medical Center campus only.

In that event, Simmons explained that Troy fire would not respond to calls from any of the address points on the UVMC campus.

Trustees said the fire district was necessary to protect its residents from carrying the financial burden the UVMC campus’ current transportation practices has placed on the township and its contracted services with the city of Troy.

Becky Rice, president and CEO of Upper Valley Medical Center said, “This is a surprising development regarding a very serious safety issue. It is imperative and critical that we have fire and EMS coverage to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff. Not doing so would be an abdication of responsibility to some of Miami County’s most vulnerable residents, including those at Koester Pavilion. We look forward to discussing this matter further with township officials to come up with a responsible solution.”

The city of Troy and Concord Township officials found that UVMC’s 911 calls for EMS services on its campus were causing response calls to skyrocket nearly 100 percent per year since 2013. Township officials stated the UVMC call volume alone was costing the township approximately $160,000 per year.

Whidden provided copies of articles from the Dayton Daily News dated Oct. 25, 2016, to show that Premier Health contracted with Huber Heights-based American Medical Response for medical transportation services through its network, which includes UVMC.

“The hospital is perfectly capable of providing their own emergency medical services without Concord Township tax payers subsidizing to the tune of $160,000 or more a year,” Whidden said.

Whidden said he met with Candy Skidmore, vice president of Service Integrations, twice to work out a compromise to alleviate the financial burden on the township. Whidden said the meetings did not provide any indication a compromise would be achieved to help compensate the township for its contracted services with the city of Troy.

Trustee Bill Whidden said he would be contacting UVMC personnel on Wednesday to inform them of their plans to proceed with a resolution to create a fire district at its next meeting on Sept. 27.

Trustees had wanted to explore only excluding EMS services to UVMC, but Englert explained it was an “all or nothing” issue due to the township’s levy funding.

Township trustees’ current contract will expire at the end of 2017. The township is currently negotiating its new five-year contract with the city of Troy, which is close to being finalized, Whidden said. The township renewed its 3.7-mills levy last November.

If another department decides to service UVMC, it would take over service to the campus as of Jan. 1, 2018.

“What has been the concern of the township over the last several months, at least the last year or more, was information that was provided to us by Chief Simmons, which we had not had when we negotiated the last contract. It was a break out of the services that the fire department provides to us to not just the unincorporated areas of the township, but specifically calls that originated from the UVMC campus,” Whidden said.

Whidden found that UVMC was utilizing the city’s EMS services through 911 dispatch for its on-site transportation.

Whidden said the jump in response calls within the township since 2013 was mainly due to the UVMC campus, including Koester Pavilion, the physician’s office and the dialysis center and its transportation of patients to the hospital on site.

Trustee Tom Mercer said he believed the trustees were doing the right thing on the behalf of their constituents and to protect the financial obligations of the residents of Concord Township.

“It’s not something that’s easy or an easy decision that we are making, but we’ve been looking into for the last three years,” Mercer said. “That’s our job and that’s our job people elected us to do.”

Trustee Don Pence read a draft of the proposed resolution and asked for Englert to make changes to some wording before the next meeting. Trustees said they plan to review the proposed fire district resolution at its Sept. 27 meeting at 10 a.m. at Horizon Court West.

Fire district would exclude UVMC campus due to high call volume

By Melanie Yingst

Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews

Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews