Upper Arlington News

UA eyes cost-saving contract for EMS supplies


Upper Arlington City Council will consider a contract next week with a new emergency-medical services supplier, which city officials say will save money and lead to better management of medications and equipment.

The $75,000 contract expected to come before council March 25 is with Bound Tree Medical of Dublin to provide supplies to the Upper Arlington Fire Division.

Fire Chief Jeff Young has recommended the city hire Bound Tree, which he said in a staff report will offer pricing that's 25 percent below current catalog prices on most items.

During a council conference session last Monday, Young said Bound Tree is the only EMS supplier currently using a barcode inventory management system, which would enable the UAFD to order supplies directly via a web-based portal to the company's system.

In addition to improving order accuracy and reducing staff time related to inventory checks, Young said that feature would provide the ability to constantly track supply expiration dates -- including those of medications and some equipment -- and ensure the division doesn't reorder too many or too few supplies.

He estimated the tracking system would yield annual supply cost savings of 5 percent to 10 percent.

"This is reasonably cutting-edge in the EMS supply market," Young said. "There is nobody else that we can find that matches that up."

Young added that his division should recognize savings because Bound Tree's system allows for purchasing only what is needed to replace equipment and supplies.

"We can order specific quantities needed," he said. "Now you buy whatever the retail quantity is."

According to its website, Bound Tree sells EMS supplies ranging from uniforms and splints to pharmaceuticals, oxygen equipment and trauma kits.

The company is the current EMS supplier for Columbus, Baltimore, San Francisco and New Orleans, according to the city staff report.

Included in the proposed contract is a one-time $2,954 charge to set up Bound Tree Medical web-hosted software for inventory management and supply purchasing.

Young's staff report stated that after the initial set-up costs, the city would pay an annual license renewal fee of $360 as long as it keeps Bound Tree as its EMS supplier, and the city could receive a discounted license renewal rate based on the quantity of supplies ordered the previous year.

"Total annual license cost for six licenses should be no more than $2,160 for annual renewal," he said in his staff report. "License discounts have been traditionally quoted as 2 percent to 5 percent of previous year's sales, which has the potential to eliminate the annual license fee."