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County Commission asked to join emergency air transport network
Karen House
March 23, 2017, 1:43 p.m.

The Sequatchie County Commission listened to a presentation by Jimmy Morris at Monday night’s meeting, regarding membership in the Air Medcare Network.

March 23, 2017 – A representative from the Air Medcare Network spoke to the Sequatchie County Commission Monday night, asking the county to become a member of the network, which provides helicopter emergency transport to individual members within a covered area.

Jimmy Morris, the membership manager for the region, addressed the March 20 meeting of the commission, telling them that Erlanger Health System’s LifeForce helicopters and several other companies that provide a similar service are part of their network.

Air Medcare Network covers air transport in 32 states, with 260 aircraft, serving over 2 million members, Morris said.

In Sequatchie County, LifeForce has transported 64 patients in 2016 and 12 so far in 2017, he said.

If the county becomes part of their network, he explained, “every resident of the county is covered, if they are picked up inside the county.” Coverage also applies in any of the 32 states where they fly.

Normally, a flight costs tens of thousands of dollars,” Morris said, but under their policy, anything not covered by a patient’s insurance is covered by their Air Medcare membership. Even uninsured patients will only be charged at the Medicare rate.

Most insurance companies have exclusions,” he explained, “some out-of-pocket expenses. Our membership covers everything after the insurance.”

County Executive Keith Cartwright said the commission would take the organization’s offer under advisement when they make up the next fiscal year’s budget.

In regular business, the commission approved three funds transfers: $3,780 to the sheriff’s medical insurance, $9,000 to the jail’s medical insurance, and $1,300 to the sheriff’s rentals. All votes were unanimous.

Budget Committee Chair Jeff Barger informed commissioners that forms are now being mailed out for them to request items to be put on the budget for 2017-18.

Commissioner Tom Vennero reported that the Audit Committee had reviewed the state audit and the 10 findings contained in it.

Some of them are repeats,” he admitted, “but it’s all procedural. We have a very good consensus on how to move forward. If we’re going to have policy, we have to follow it. But there were no material findings, no misappropriation of funds or anything like that.”

Director of Schools Pete Swafford also addressed the commission, informing them that bids would be opened on Thursday, March 23, at 2 p.m., for construction of a new maintenance building to be built near the playground, behind Griffith Elementary School (GES).

This maintenance building is to consolidate all our maintenance in one area,” Swafford explained.

Comm. Paul Powell asked when the school system planned to move the bus garage closer to the county schools complex.

We’ve talked about the bus garage, but have not made any plans in that direction,” Swafford said. “We’ve not had any real serious discussion about it.”

Once the bids are opened, the Sequatchie County Board of Education (BOE) will vote on them at their April 3 meeting, Swafford said.

LifeForce is part of the Air Medcare Network.

In other business, the County Commission:

o Heard a report from Will Pitt, of Puckett EMS, stating that during the month of February the ambulance service received 142 calls, 59 of which were transported to the local emergency room, and that their response time averaged 10 minutes urban and 17 minutes in rural areas. A new CPR class is scheduled for next month, Pitt said.

o Heard a report from County Executive Cartwright that the plans to build a regional hospital in Dunlap are waiting for Medicare/Medicaid approval from the federal government, “and we haven’t heard anything,” Cartwright said.

o Unanimously approved three notaries public.

o Heard Cartwright say County Property Assessor James Condra will give an update at next month’s meeting on reappraisals, and Register of Deeds Kendra Boyd will speak on some changes to public records policy.

Commissioners Jimbo Breland and Terry Dishman were absent Monday.

The next meeting of the Sequatchie County Commission is scheduled for Monday, April 17, at 7 p.m. County Commission meetings are held the third Monday of each month in the upstairs courtroom of the Sequatchie County Courthouse on Cherry Street in Dunlap. Budget Committee meets at 6 p.m., and full commission meeting at 7 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.