UPDATE: Decatur County Commissioners have scheduled a called meeting for Monday, May 19 at 6 p.m., at the County Administration Building, 203 W. Broughton Street, with the agenda to concern the EMS privatization decision that was tabled at the regular commissioners meeting on Tuesday, May 13.
Hundreds of hours have been spent by Decatur County commissioners and their staff studying the pros and cons of privatizing the county’s ambulance service, county officials said, but a final decision has yet to be reached.
For the past few weeks, Decatur County commissioners looked close to accepting a bid from one of two private ambulance companies–Mid-Georgia of Macon or Gold Star of Albany–who had sent proposals on how they would manage the county’s ambulance service and what benefits they would provide. Currently, Decatur County loses about $220,000 per year on its ambulance service, which is actually down from about $500,000 annual losses in the 2000s.
Mid-Georgia operates county ambulance services in nine counties, including Mitchell County. Gold Star, which has a substation in Bainbridge, has only operated as a transport service to date, taking patients from one medical facility to another, including Phoebe Putney Hospital in Albany and Archbold Hospital in Thomasville.
In April, Seminole County commissioners–who are interested in creating a combined ambulance service for both Decatur and Seminole counties for cost and geographical reasons–voted to accept a bid from Mid-Georgia, contingent upon what Decatur County commisisoners decided to do.
After commissioners’ last meeting, Grady EMS (associated with Grady Hospital in Atlanta) read local media reports about the two counties’ EMS study and submitted a proposal of its own.
Click to view Decatur County Commissioners – Privatized EMS bids, displayed in tabular form for comparison.
In the approximately 5-minute video below, Seminole County Commissioner Roger Lane addresses Decatur County commissioners on why he believes time is of the essence for them to make a decision on whether to go with a private ambulance service.