Trustees table fire service issue

By Melanie Yingst -

CONCORD TWP. — On Wednesday, Concord Township trustees tabled a resolution to create a new fire district in order to give Upper Valley Medical Center two weeks to propose its own plan to curb high EMS service call volume, which is costing the township more than $160,000 a year.

At their Sept. 13 meeting, trustees discussed 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.

If the fire district is created, it will continue to provide services to all Concord Township residents and businesses as usual. The fire district would only exclude fire and EMS services to the Upper Valley Medical Center campus, meaning that Troy fire would not respond to calls from any of the address points on the UVMC campus, which is located in the township.

Representatives from Upper Valley Medical Center, including Chief Operations Officer Diane Pleiman, attended the meeting. Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell and assistant prosecutor Chris Englert, as well as Chief Matthew Simmons and city of Troy auditor John Frigge, were also present. Trustees, along with Kendell and Englert, adjourned into executive session for approximately 30 minutes to discuss the resolution before agreeing to revisit the resolution at the next township meeting on Oct. 11.

“What’s happened here is that these transportation issues from the UMVC campus are really tearing the township apart financially,” Trustee Bill Whidden said.

Whidden said the trustees received a letter from Upper Valley Medical Center on Tuesday which stated: “We are hopeful of an equitable resolution to this matter.”

“So we would respectfully ask that in the next two weeks you’ll give us your proposal. What is that equitable resolution that you have in mind? We firmly believe that we can not go to our taxpayers. To put this in perspective, the next contract would cost the township $770,000 (for all five years) to cover UVMC and that’s calls from the campus,” Whidden said.

Prior to the trustees’ tabling the issue, COO Pleiman addressed the board in a three-page letter. The letter in its entirety can be found online at

“I would like to go on record to register our disappointment in the township’s intentions to create a fire district that excludes the Upper Valley Medical Center Campus,” she said. “As partners that have supported the township for many years, we are surprised to see that township officials are considering this proposal, and we do hope that you will reconsider. We have had a long-standing positive relationship with Concord Township and remain hopeful that the community will continue to benefit from such collegiality.”

Pleiman addressed six points from the Sept. 14 article in the Troy Daily News.

One point stated, “We would like to clarify that UVMC is not using the 911 dispatch center/EMS services for on-site transportation. Residents of Koester Pavilion (like all residents in the township) utilize 911 for help if they are experiencing a medical emergency. (Privately owned) DaVita dialysis center staff contact 911 if they have a patient who is experiencing a medical emergency.”

Following Whidden’s closing statements, Pleiman said, “We’ve never had emergency transportation. We have transportation services to take a patient from one hospital to another hospital, things like that, but never emergency service.”

According to Trustee Bill Whidden, during its next contract negotiations, the township would have to raise $770,000 for its 5-year contract with the city of Troy to support the hospital campus alone.

“As I asked you during our last meeting with your attorney, don’t tell me what you can’t-do, tell us what you can do….for an equitable resolution. We’ve been discussing this for a long time. We are firm in our stance that we can not go back to our taxpayers and asked them to cover an additional $700,000,” Whidden said.

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.

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 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 mill levy last November.

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

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.

By Melanie Yingst