The speed at which this County turned its back on such a loyal company is baffling and shameful. The day the County was contacted by the Youngs that they were unable to meet payroll, I was there. The office was frantic, and in sheer panic. All of us felt sick. Fearful of how the service they have been running for, what, nearly 25 years, would be able to take that next call. And just like that, news article after news article, I had to sit back and watch as the County turned its back on a loyal, committed, locally owned company. From day one I could tell the County has no intentions of staying with Lee County EMS. It was meeting after meeting behind their backs, slandering their names! How many times did they meet with the Youngs to discuss where to go from there? What about the employees? How many years did Lee County EMS have a contract with the County? How often did Lee County EMS ask for their contracted money to be raised? And in that time, what other places covered by the county asked for more money because costs were going up? Common sense would reason that as costs were rising, the Ambulance Service would need more money. If they did anything wrong, it was not asking for additional funds annually as their costs were going up, and insurance payments stopped coming in. Also, taking psych transfer after psych transfer for the county. Many of them to the other side of the state. Most insurances won’t pay mileage if it is any further than Iowa City. The business was eating the cost of those. The County has NO IDEA what it takes to run the Ambulance Service! They have no idea the cost of equipment! Of supplies! Bill got in over his head. But no one saw him, day after day, making cuts wherever and however he could, just to get supplies and make payroll. Do you think he wanted to not pay the IRS? He was between a rock and a hard place. The way I see it, he knew he had a decision to make; pay his employees and continue keeping the county cared for, or pay taxes. Can any of us really say what we would do in such a situation? I just cannot fathom how quickly everyone turned on Bill! Making him out to be a terrible man, a criminal!? Bill Young cares about this county, its residents, and also his employees. He is extremely involved in this community. Many of the employees still work at Lee County EMS because they are loyal to that company, and to Bill. Several of them have been there 15-20+ years! Are they worried about their jobs? ABSOLUTELY!! Many of them rely solely on their income from Lee County EMS, being the only source of income in their home. The anxiety is running high. After 20+ years of service to our county, they have no idea if they will be back to job hunting, in a world where there are no jobs to be had. Lee County EMS employees have been coming to work every day, saving lives, while risking theirs amidst a pandemic. All the while the County and news stations have been making Lee County EMS seem like the lowest of the low. Even the cities were talking about taking over. They were in way over their heads. Do you know how much vent circuits cost, much less the vent itself? How about cardiac monitors? ECG pads for those monitors? Cots? An ambulance itself? That’s not even counting the lights and decals. The cost of supplies and equipment would do more than just raise eyebrows! And are most of these bids just under the assumption that they can and will get equipment and supplies from Lee County EMS?
I guess I’m just not sure why? Why has the County not just made the effort to work with the ones that have been here serving our county for well over two decades. Nearly a quarter of a century! Why has this all been thrown in the trash at the first sign of trouble? And who was supposed to stand up for Lee County EMS? The ones the county falsely accused of embezzlement?
The news has advertised many of the bids that were made. This company the County sounds like they are leaning towards, Global Medical Response, they knew exactly what they needed to bid in order to slide in and take over. A single google search will show you that this company has a terrible reputation. They bid low now, but what happens in 6mo when they ask for more money? I’ve read that they have a tendency to just close the doors when they’re not making money. Our county is not a money maker! The county will only be in a worse position than it is now when they get a 911 call and find out they closed their doors at midnight with no notice, as they’ve been known to do. Not even a notice to their employees!
Lee County EMS consists of your friends, your neighbors. The compassion the crews have shown during these trying times has to mean something. Lee County EMS’s many years of dedication to this county surely must mean something?!! Supplying crews to races, rodeo performances, 4 ambulances at the rodeo parade (while still covering the south of the county), and football games at all 3 high schools. Going to schools to speak to children, children touring our bases, etc. The service also paid or helped pay for many of their employees training and always covered the cost of keeping the training. Then there are the behind the scenes people. Dispatch, office staff and billing personnel. Lee County EMS cares about this county, and I’m certain they’ve likely saved the life of at least one person you know. Maybe even someone you love. Now it’s the time to step up and save theirs.