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Supervisors looking for ambulance service, again
from Staff Reports - NEWS
December 5, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Adams County supervisors will try again to get an ambulance company to be the community’s exclusive medical emergency transporter and be required to follow quick response time standards.

Amid continuing complaints about local ambulances taking too long to respond, the county board voted Monday to seek proposals from emergency medical companies on how they can better serve the community. This comes more than a year after county supervisors turned down propositions from three companies vying to be the sole responder for emergency medical calls.

Two companies – American Medical Response and Miss-Lou (Metro) Ambulance Service – currently take turns picking up people in medical distress. However, county Supervisor David Carter has urged the board in the last two years to give the exclusive franchise to one ambulance provider that would be contractually bound to standards for providing improved service.

“I still think it would be in the best interest of our citizens if we did it,” Carter said Monday.

Three county supervisors -- Ricky Gray, Calvin Butler and Angela Hutchins – in 2016 voted down Carter’s proposal. Board President Mike Lazarus favored a sole provider. Hutchins said then that she prefers allowing the two existing ambulance companies to operate in the county to ensure there’s an alternative.

However, she and the other four supervisors on Monday agreed to seek new proposals from ambulance providers.

Adams County is one of the few – if not the only Mississippi county – with more than one ambulance service: AMR and Metro.

Carter on Monday cited a report last week about Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell complaining it took about 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at his diabetic mother’s house in response to a call for help.

The county board recently enacted an agreement with Natchez to consolidate the county and city’s staff of E-911 dispatchers envisioning it would hasten the time to get emergency responders to the scene. However, county Emergency Management Director Brad Bradford said Monday that the restructured dispatching system is not the cause of any slow ambulance response times that continue to occur.

In proposals submitted to the Board of Supervisors last year, AMR said it would take up to 10 minutes to drive to someone medically distressed inside Natchez and 20 minutes out in the county. Miss-Lou (Metro) Ambulance Service set its time at 11 minutes in the city and 16 minutes outside. A third ambulance provider -- Rural Rapid Response – said it could respond 12 minutes inside the city with two minutes added to each mile traveled beyond the city.

If the county had one emergency medical service provider, it would not have to subsidize it if the ambulance company also got the exclusive right to transport patients for nonemergency runs, such as transfers to and from nursing homes and hospitals. However, county board attorney Scott Slover said the county could not legally contract for an exclusive provider for both emergency and nonemergency services, according to the state attorney general’s office. It could contract to just provide emergency-only service. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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