Ambulance Services Still Run by Bay Medical-Sacred Heart

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During lease negotiations with Sacred Heart for Bay Medical Center, Bay County commissioners decided the count needed to run emergency medical services and the ambulance service. The county was supposed to take over January 1, but commissioners as for an extension and are considering another to make sure it's a sound financial move.

Count officials hired a consulting firm to run the numbers and ensure that revenues will cover expenditures. The decision to make that move has delayed the deal.

"We want to make sure that when we do this that we do it right, that we don't make any mistakes that financially we've done the right thing," said Bay County commissioner Mike Thomas.

"County commission said that they want to do this so long as it can be self supporting, so long as it doesn't result in any sort of tax increase on the citizens," said Bay County Emergency Services Chief Mark Bowen. " That level of due diligence to ensure you know, the data that we're getting is absolutely the best data that we could get has lead us to get data from a number of different sources."

But money isn't the only concern.

"If it was just money we would have bid out the hospital. We wanted to make sure we got good healthcare and I think in this process that we get good service on the road too," said Thomas.

Commissioners should have the consultant's report by the end of February. If everything checks out, the county could take over the services on April 1st. If not, the county could bid out the ambulance service to a private company.