York County inks decedent transport deal, seeks second vendor

Greg Gross

The York County Commissioners inked a contract with a Wrightsville-area company to transport dead bodies for the coroner's office, but still a second vendor is still sought.

The contract commissioners approved at their weekly meeting Wednesday is with Gilbert's Mortuary Transport to transport decedents to Lehigh Valley Hospital for autopsies.

Under the deal, Gilbert's will be paid $685 per body per trip. But if two decedents are taken in a single trip, the cost is $975. The contract runs through 2016.

"We only had one vendor apply," Coroner Pam Gay told commissioners.

Gay's office is seeking a second vendor to transport dead bodies from scenes in the county to the morgue at York Hospital.

Previous contract: The coroner's office was left scrambling to find vendors after longtime provider White Rose Ambulance opted to end its agreement.

For about 18 years, the York City-based ambulance company had been transporting — at cut-rate costs — the deceased from scenes to York Hospital for $100 a trip and to Lehigh Valley Hospital for $515.

But the heavy workload was too much for the company, which has also seen an increase in the demand for services to the living, a company official had said.

The change in service providers did have an affect on the county budget, which included a tax increase when it passed Wednesday, tacking on an additional $102,000 to the coroner's budget.

If the coroner's office didn't contract the service, the cost to the county would be a lot more than that. Gay's office would have to add roughly five additional people, purchase at least three vehicles and could incur associated costs for a 24-hour, seven-day a week service, Gay had said.

Bidding: The coroner's office is accepting bids, which are due Jan. 6, for the in-county services. Commissioners are expect to vote on the new vendor after the bids are reviewed.

Gay said she's hopeful to get better rates for services by splitting up the tasks and getting one vendor for the trips to Allentown and a second for the in-county work.

"We felt we would have better success it we split this job up," she said.

To request a bid packet, call the county purchasing department at (717) 771-9269.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.