KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Commission voted to award current EMS provider American Medical Services with a new contract to continue to serve the county on Monday.
The commission voted 7-4 in favor of awarding the contract following a Fitch and Associates report that listed numerous problems with Knox County’s overall emergency response system.
Not all were in favor, and the vote was met with much skepticism.
“They’ve got to prove it to the community that they can do better. They’ve got to prove to the community that they can be responsive and they can be part of a better healthcare system locally and that’s on them,” Commissioner Larsen Jay said. “So we’ll see what happens going forward.”
Commissioner Jay among others voiced his displeasure and lack of faith in AMR as a provider, but Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs believes the vote will benefit the county moving forward.
“[The contract is] absolutely not perfect, we all understand that but it puts us in a much better place and I think that we’ll see performance will increase,” Jacobs said. “And then just like we’ve done at this contract, we can tweak going forward.”
Mayor Jacobs was understanding with the commissioners’ viewpoints and shared some of their frustrations.
“I certainly understand commission’s issue with that particular part of the contract, I live out in that area so I’m there as well,” Jacobs said.
The contract brings about several changes, including moving ambulance dispatch to Knox County’s E-911 along with a clause that will allow the commission to revisit the contract if AMR is not performing up to standards.
“They can prove me wrong and they can show everybody they’re the right provider and I hope they’re successful,” Jay said. “But for me, I’m going to continue to remain focused on it. Look at the data, look at the results, they have to prove it and if they don’t then we’ll be right back here a year or two from now and we’ll start all over again.”
The contract is expected to go into effect in February.