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Richmond County Neighborhood Alliance starts petition on ambulance service

Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 11:03 AM
Last updated 8:50 PM
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Some local activists are passing around a petition to get the Augusta Commission to look at the city’s ambulance contract.

Melvin Ivey, the president of the Richmond County Neighborhood Alliance, said the organization has started a petition to have the contract between Gold Cross ambulance service and Augusta amended to include details it believes are missing.

“We discovered we don’t have all the provisions that we really need,” Ivey said. “The contract is really wide open.”

His example was Gold Cross’ contract with Columbia County, in which the company guarantees at least five ambulances in the county at all times and details where they are housed. There is no comparable guarantee in Augusta’s contract, Ivey said.

“We want the people who negotiated the contract to be held responsible for it,” Ivey said.

Ivey also said he believes that Augusta Fire Chief Chris James, who is the contract’s administrator, does not have the tools he needs in the contract to properly police it, something the chief said earlier this year.

In July, James told The Augusta Chronicle that although the contract requires Gold Cross to place each call in a priority category of 1, 2 or 3, it does not define what each priority entails, such as a life-threatening situation or non-emergency. James said that would be the only way to determine whether the ambulance service is adequately getting to the scene on a timely basis. The priorities are defined in Columbia County’s contract.

The petition, written to both the commission members and the regional EMS council has three “demands”:

• No monopoly of the 911 Emergency Medical Services: “Stop the Gold Cross takeover.”

• A new contract for 911 EMS in Richmond County

• Richmond County must be the sole primary provider of the 911 EMS to allow “true and competitive subcontracting.”

Ivey said the organization became aware of the contract issues after Gold Cross submitted a request to become the primary zone provider, a standing the company shares with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department.

The move would have meant Gold Cross could run 911 calls in Augusta without a contract. In November, the decision went before the East Central Georgia EMS Council, which decided to honor James and the city attorney’s request to postpone a decision until February.

During the November meeting, council members were informed they could not administratively give the zone to Gold Cross but would have to open it to all ambulance services. Four days later, Gold Cross withdrew its request after a meeting with James and city Administrator Fred Russell.

Sammie Sias, the president of Sandridge Community Association and a member of the neighborhood alliance, said he hopes to get thousands of signatures before the petitions are presented to the commission at month’s end.

Sias said they are hoping to get the conversation started within the commission before the East Central Georgia EMS Council meets again in February.

“There are some details missing from the contract,” Sias said. “Things that aren’t missing from other area contracts.”

Ivey and Sias said the neighborhood alliance, which represents about 30 Augusta neighborhoods, is handling the petition drive.

“You have to cover all your bases when it comes to emergencies,” Ivey said. “That contract is not doing that.”

Comments (10) Add comment
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Sweet son
11488
Points
Sweet son 01/04/13 - 02:10 pm
2
1
Check with Dr. Azziz!

He can tell you how to take control of this situation because he is the Emperor of Empire Building!

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 01/04/13 - 02:43 pm
0
0
I believe Mr.
Unpublished

Ivey could do with a little more education.

dichotomy
37323
Points
dichotomy 01/04/13 - 03:44 pm
4
0
Yes, fix the ambulance

Yes, fix the ambulance contract and...............

FIX THE ILLEGAL PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 01/04/13 - 04:31 pm
2
0
so glad that residents are

so glad that residents are being more watchful and outspoken of what our county leaders are doing!!!

TrulyWorried
16483
Points
TrulyWorried 01/04/13 - 06:58 pm
1
0
Outspoken residents - yes!!

All we need now is for the people that should take care of our problems to READ these comments and then make efforts to do something about them.

PBrig822
64
Points
PBrig822 01/05/13 - 06:55 am
3
0
Stop the abuse of 911

Stop the the abuse of 911 in Augusta!!! The ambulance is not a taxi nor is it an automatic ticket to be seen right away.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 01/05/13 - 02:55 pm
0
0
Lots of money wasted there...

We can save over a million a year if we rebid this one, OH WAIT! That's right, it was never bid out. My mistake.

More is coming on this one.

TCB22
694
Points
TCB22 01/05/13 - 03:47 pm
1
0
Priorities...

Brad be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Is ambulance service really the best place in Augusta's budget to try to save a million dollars? What company would even bid on an ambulance contract with Augusta? Think about your options before you throw the baby out with the bath water.

Bulldog1
223
Points
Bulldog1 01/06/13 - 09:21 am
0
0
Priorities

TCB22, why would no one bid wish on this contract?

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 01/06/13 - 10:58 am
0
0
TCB22

I have a copy of the contract, have read it and also have done research on how these are done in other places, Gold Cross is fleecing us.

I for one know that Capitol City would bid against Gold Cross.

TCB22
694
Points
TCB22 01/06/13 - 12:32 pm
0
0
Brad

Ok, contract with Capitol City. I won't even get into that. But remember that these ambulance services are not volunteer - it's a business to them. What do you suppose the collection rate is in RC compared to these other counties you all keep talking about. Apples and oranges, my friend. Don't push out the best ambulance service you'll ever get there.

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