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Troy to end contract with St. Croix EMS, for now

The Town of Troy board has voted not to renew its rolling contract for St. Croix EMS, though supervisors said they are still open to working with the service and the city of Hudson.

The contract with the city for St. Croix EMS will now end in December 2022 once the town sends written notice. Without that notice, the contract would have automatically renewed for another year, extending through 2023.

“It’s not saying we’re leaving the service, it’s not saying we’re going with someone else,” said Supervisor Jan Cuccia, who made the motion against renewal.

Cuccia said the EMS contract has not always been five-year rolling, though this is not the first contract that has had that format.

“It’s a bad contract,” she said.

Supervisor Cliff Jennings said the market is changing, and the service may be in a different place in four or five years.

“I don’t feel like we have enough information to make that decision,” he said.

Jennings questioned what it would mean for Troy if the other EMS partners village of North Hudson and town of Hudson chose not to renew. Village of North Hudson voted 5-2 not to renew the service at its last meeting, and town of Hudson has voted to do the same, if they have an established contract with another service by the Sept. 28 deadline.

St. Croix EMS Operations Supervisor Josh Olson said the service is focused on sustainability. Olson plans to move the service back to its previous staffing model, with shift stipends instead of hourly rates.

The per capita rate for the EMS partners will not change next year, Olson said.

“I can hold costs down,” Olson said. “We need to put our brakes on for a minute.”

The other option town of Hudson and village of North Hudson have looked at is Lakeview EMS, owned by HealthPartners.

Olson said he was not there to tarnish Lakeview, calling it a great service with great medics. He did express concern with the service’s dynamic deployment model, which moves an ambulance from its base to a more central location if other bases Stillwater or South St. Paul have all ambulances out on calls.

“My truck won’t float,” Olson said. “It will stay downtown.”

Currently he said the St. Croix EMS has a paramedic en route within 90 seconds and an ambulance en route in four minutes.

Cuccia asked Olson how staffing has been affected by the discussions about selling the service to HealthPartners last year. Olson said a lot of staff members took full time jobs elsewhere, but continue to work for St. Croix EMS.

“It hurt our staff pretty bad,” he said.  

Chairperson Dan Pearson said the town of Troy, which also contracts with River Falls EMS for two-thirds of its coverage, is a small percentage of St. Croix EMS. The town makes up about 6 percent of the service’s municipal contributions.

“What we do really isn’t going to make much difference in my opinion,” Pearson said.

To withdraw the town must send written notice to the city of Hudson by Sept. 28, the last weekday before the Sept. 30 deadline.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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