Porter County will
spend $300,000 less per year on ambulance service after the Board of
Commissioners agreed 3-0 Tuesday to amend the contract it has with Porter
in November 2014 extended the contract for five years at a cost of $750,000
annually. Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center, said on Tuesday that
Hospital officials reached out a few months ago to collaborate further on
the service and ultimately decided to reduce the amount to $450,000 per year
and even more costs savings are possible in a new contract that will be
coming in the next six to twelve months.
“There has been a
lot of discussions and a lot of information shared with us on how our whole
ambulance and dispatching works,” Good said. “With knowing the direction we
are heading in, some of the things will be changing in the future, nothing
significant, but basically between the (Commissioners) and Porter Hospital I
think it was a good opportunity to relook at where we stand as of today.”
contract will continue to provide ambulance service to the unincorporated
areas and serve as back up for the municipalities. County Attorney Scott
McClure said the amendment will clearly state the agreement as a “Status 3”
which means that the Hospital agrees to have no less than three ambulances
serving the county at all times.
Normally the number
of ambulances would be higher than three, McClure said, but the
municipalities will serve as backup. He clarified that Status 3 doesn’t mean
only three ambulances will be serving the County; that’s just the minimum.
The amendment keeps
all the terms of the current contract, McClure added.
Biggs, R-North, said he thinks this new measure will allow better service
because it is more clear what is required in the contract. Fellow
Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, added that it is very important to
her district which is all unincorporated except for the smaller towns of
Kouts and Hebron.
“There is a lot of
ground to cover,” she said.
Good and McClure
lauded the Hospital on being “extremely forthcoming and professional.”
“I can’t say enough
about how Porter Hospital approached this. I think they were very positive,
productive and out of the meetings came a lot of good for Porter County,”
The Hospital and
the County will work on a new contract that will be modified for the next
component of the 800-megahertz upgrade to the 911 Communication dispatch
system, Good said. Financial advisors Umbaugh & Associates will look over
what monies cities, towns and townships receive from the state in 911
revenue so the Commissioners can have a better idea of what they will have
to spend for new radios.
“It’s a big deal.
There are a lot of moving parts. We are trying to break it down and put it
back together in a fashion that makes sense for everybody and also makes
sense that you can manage it,” said Good.
Over the last five
years, the County had been paying the ambulance contract with the proceeds
from the 2007 sale of the County hospital. Payment was changed over last
year to use cumulative capital development (CCD) funds as the hospital sale
proceeds were invested into a charitable non-profit foundation.
Vicki Urbanik said however that the state cut the County’s CCD funds this
year to $223,000 and the Commissioners will have to decide with the County
Council where additional funding will come from.
Commissioners look to save about $13,000 in its worker’s comp, property,
casualty and auto insurance renewal, starting April 10.
insurance options was Charlie Renie, vice president of account management at
KBIC Consulting, which the Commissioners hired in March to be a third-party
advisor in hopes of finding lower premiums.
Renie said the
County’s three-year loss history as far as the worker’s comp loss is about a
70 percent loss ratio, or for every dollar paid to the insurance company,
the insurance company is paying out about 70 cents. Ideally, the ratio
insurance companies look for is about 40 percent, Renie said.
“We looked at the
options that were available. Our recommendation to the County is to enact a
simple universal risk management plan across the different divisions,” Renie
The targeted costs
for the current contract is $590,500. Renie said.
Working with Anton
Insurance on options for renewal, Renie said the current provider BITCO
Insurance was looked at and a self-funding option was presented by Caitlin
Morgan Insurance Services.
BITCO has offered a
renewal of $577,000 for a light duty plan, which Renie felt was the
better-suited plan for the County and made it his recommendation. He said
his company will work with Anton Insurance to see that there is a formal
scope of services.
Good said seeing a
savings for this year is “starting a move in the right direction.”
Blaney made the
motion to renew with BITCO subject to review by McClure. It passed by
unanimous vote of 3-0.
renewal dates between the worker’s comp and other insurance, Renie
recommended having a common renewal date. Good said that is the Board’s
preference and Jan. 1 should be the renewal date. Moving it up would give
the County Council a better idea of what the costs will look like during its
budget hearings in the fall, McClure added.
dates are something the Commissioners are also striving for in the employee
health insurance agreements.