On May 15th the county council voted to approve the position of county medical director to an open bid system at the beginning of 2019. The decision came after discussion about the best course of action for the position.
A new request for proposal (RFP) was recommended regarding standards of medical directors throughout the state. This caused Morgan County to take a look at the current medical director contract. The contract should be an employee/employer contract, however the current contract with Morgan County’s medical director is a sub-contractor contract. Council member, Tina Canon stated, “The updated RFP is a way to put out a request for a bid on a contract and drawing a new contract. We’re just updating what the agreement for both sides is and clarifying any problems that are already there. This is a way to ensure we have an employee contract. There are different requirements just based on the law for a contractor vs. and employee.”
The argument from other council members to the prospect of changing contracts was the amount of time Dr. Brett Earl has been the county’s medical director, stating his services began in 2007 and there hasn’t ever been a need to change the contract.
The county uses the medical director’s license to run emergency services. The medical director is responsible for trainings throughout the year with emergency service personnel in the county. With the RFP bid there are more clarifications on priority dispatch protocol, basic EMT, advanced EMT services etc. There are also more specific directions so there is an understanding what kind of training is needed for the emergency services of the county.
Council member, Ned Mecham said, “I think the controversy of this contract is there was a new doctor’s name as a proposal before anything was voted on.”
Austin Turner, agreed saying, “It seemed like we were trying to back into an RFP without Dr. Earl knowing.”
Canon responded saying, “There isn’t a signed contract out there. There needs to be more communication between parties [Emergency services, and medical director]. My solution was to define the contract and create a new contract where we [county council and medical director] have an understanding on what it means.”
Dr. Earl said he hasn’t been privy to any of the discussions of the contract, and explained he always makes time for the trainings he’s contracted to do. Fire Chief, Ian Nelson expressed frustration at not being able to make decisions without the council approval. He said, “Why have a department head when I can’t make any decisions? I wouldn’t tell the sheriff which deputies to hire. I disagree when the council says there haven’t been any issues since 2007.”
The decision was made to leave the contract as is until January 2019 where an open RFP will be released for bids for county medical director. This does not mean Dr. Earl will not be the county medical director. It was stated the referrals will be given by Nelson as the department head, and the final decision will rest with the county council.