Gold Cross announced Monday it is withdrawing its request to become the primary provider for ambulance services in Richmond County.
“After a successful meeting with the city of Augusta, Gold Cross EMS has notified the Region VI EMS Office that Gold Cross is withdrawing its July 25, 2012, request for ambulance zone modification,” the company said in a statement.
Gold Cross’ request would have allowed the company to control 911 calls in Richmond County, whether they had a contract with the city or not. Because the fire department is also a co-primary zone provider, the city controls the calls and subcontracts to Gold Cross.
During a meeting Monday involving City Administrator Fred Russell, Gold Cross owner Bo Pounds and Augusta-Richmond County Fire Chief Chris James, the three decided to continue being co-providers, Russell said.
“We had a good conversation and came to a mutual agreement that a co-zone is appropriate at this time,” he said.
When Gold Cross made its request, James and city attorney Jody Smitherman expressed concern the city wouldn’t have input on how EMS service is run.
In a meeting last week, the East Central Georgia EMS Council postponed action on Gold Cross’ request to allow the fire department time to build an argument against the change. James did not know of the request until Oct. 19.
During last week’s meeting, council members were told that any change would open the zoning process to all ambulance companies interested in becoming primary provider. Smitherman said in that case, the city would push to be the primary provider.
Russell said he attended that meeting because he was concerned that a private provider would be able to run the calls without government input.
While speaking to Russell and Pounds on Monday, James, who was contacted by phone, said he maintained the position that the fire department needs to remain a primary zone provider, “so citizens have an input in their EMS service,”
He said he learned that Gold Cross was withdrawing its request after the meeting.
“I’m glad they made this decision,” he said.