The town of Hudson will end its service with St. Croix EMS Dec. 31, 2018 after the city of Hudson Common Council approved its request to exit the contract early.
The rolling five-year contract was set to end in 2022, but town of Hudson asked to leave earlier as it plans to contract with Lakeview EMS beginning in 2019.
Town of Hudson agreed to pay its 2019 EMS payment of about $140,000, and will not have a vote on the EMS commission for that year.
Town of Hudson Supervisor Tim Foster said in a Tuesday EMS Commission meeting the town does not yet have an official contract with Lakeview, but is working with them to have one by the end of November.
The request by the town was made with its letter of nonrenewal for the contract in September.
Village of North Hudson and town of Troy, the city's other EMS partners, also sent letters of nonrenewal to end the contract in 2022. Village of North Hudson also requested to be let out of the contract early if possible.
North Hudson Board President Stan Wekkin said he is still interested in leaving at the end of the year, but would need a vote from his board.
Council Member Bill Alms said the village of North Hudson did not request a specific date to terminate the contract early, as the town of Hudson did. The city would need a request with a date to act, he said.
Wekkin said the village will discuss it at its next meeting.
The village of North Hudson is not required by state statute to have EMS services contracted. Without a contract St. Croix EMS would still respond if dispatched to the area and individual users would pay a higher nonresident rate for the call. St. Croix EMS also has an out of service charge.
Troy Supervisor Suzanne Van Mele said the town board is still considering whether it will request to leave early as well.
St. Croix EMS Operations Supervisor Josh Olson said the withdrawals came as a kick in the face to the service, and he was upset it did not have a part of discussions or warning.
Wekkin and Foster said the decision to withdraw is based on cost, not the quality of service.
"It's strictly being able to afford the service down the road," Wekkin said.
Service moving forward
Olson presented an update on St. Croix EMS to the council Monday night.
St. Croix EMS is now staffed with five, full-time paramedics and has applications from more.
Based on recommendations from the service's medical director, paramedics will work 24 hours on with 48 hours off in between shifts.
EMS staff present at the meeting said the service has come a long way, and they appreciate the support they're receiving from Olson.
"Looks like there's some good things happening," Council Member Sarah Atkins Hoggatt said. "I'm really happy to see that."
Olson's proposed staffing model for 2019 sets out two paramedics and three EMTs on a shift. Two EMTs would respond to a call with the ambulance, and a paramedic would respond in a chase vehicle. The medic would be en route within 90 seconds, and the ambulance within 4 minutes.
EMTs will return to being paid at a stipend rate in 2019, and paramedics would be hourly.
A possible option for 2019 includes a transfer medic for non-emergency transfers from Hudson Hospital.
RFP to contract service
A request for proposals to contract EMS services in whole or in part has been published by the city. Alms said proposals will be accepted through the end of November.
North Hudson and Troy agreed to be a part of review of proposals.