- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Eddy County officials have rejected contract proposals for a county-owned air ambulance service.

Chairwoman Stella Davis said commissioners might reconsider the proposal once the county has a solid idea of its finances, The Current-Argus reported (https://bit.ly/2pnNsTK ). Meanwhile, the flights will continue to be operated privately.

Davis had said at the time of the meeting last week that a special state legislative session could result in more cuts and unfunded mandates.

“It was an agonizing decision,” Davis said. “I was 100 percent in support and I still am. We just don’t know what the state is going to do. Right now is not the right time. It’s sad.”

The county also lacks a contract with local hospitals to ensure they would utilize the county’s air ambulances, Commissioner James Walterscheid said.

“I’m glad we dropped it with what the state’s doing,” he said. “There’s lots of problems with the way it’s proposed.”

There had been public backlash at the meeting by a group of citizens against the proposals.

Records show the helicopters would have cost the county $135,000 each per month, totaling in about $5 million per year.

The first request for proposal would have contracted with an outside company for the use, maintenance and mechanical staff of two main helicopters and one back up.

The second would have hired a medical director to oversee the program.

The county had been planning to provide medical staff separately from the contracts.


Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, https://www.currentargus.com/

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