Commissioners Question Ambulance Availability

Source: Mike Miller, WJBF, September 12, 2015

Some Augusta commissioners still want to end the city’s contract with Gold Cross EMS because of the cost. Each year, the city pays the ambulance service more than $1.1 million dollars. But now, some officials are raising concerns about what they say is a lack of accountability with Gold Cross. … Some city officials say the ambulance service goes to “Status Level Zero” more often than it should. “Status Level Zero” means Gold Cross has no units available because they are on other calls. … So we decided to look into the claims that Gold Cross runs at “Status Level Zero” a lot, and we found that so far this year, they have been at that level at least 82 times.

Related:

Gold Cross wins in Augusta’s appeal of zone award
Source: Susan McCord, The Augusta Chronicle, September 4, 2015

Augusta’s chief superior court judge has affirmed a state decision granting ambulance provider Gold Cross EMS exclusive access to the city’s emergency calls. … In an order filed this week, Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet upheld the Georgia Department of Public Health’s decision last year to affirm the Region 6 EMS Council’s earlier award of the Augusta EMS “zone” to Gold Cross. City officials had pressed since 2012 for greater oversight of EMS service, which Gold Cross had provided under a contract since 2005, and last year approved a revised contract that tightened a handful of provisions. Despite the contract, which guarantees Gold Cross a $1 million annual city subsidy, the company followed through with plans to secure ownership of all city 911 calls. The company got an initial Region 6 zone award to Augusta thrown out and won the zone on a second vote. …

Terminating Gold Cross’s contract up for vote Tuesday
Source: Uyen Le, WAGT, August 31, 2015

City leaders set to discuss ending their contract with Gold Cross EMS at a commission meeting tomorrow. Previously, commissioners asked the company to provide records to prove they would be financial strapped if a subsidy were to end. Although it did not receive any recommendation from the public safety committee, it’s still going in front of the full commission tomorrow. … Commissioner Sias says this is nothing personal against Gold Cross, this is about saving taxpayers more than a million dollars a year.

Columbia County officials say contract with Gold Cross protects residents by upholding standards
Source: Uyen Le, WAGT, August 26, 2015

While some Richmond County commissioners want to end the city’s contract with Gold Cross EMS, Columbia County officials say having a contract protects residents by setting the standards the company needs to meet. … Contract or not, Gold Cross has to provide EMS services for both Columbia and Richmond Counties.  That’s because the state awarded this zone to the private company. … In Richmond County city leaders want to end a contract with Gold Cross as well as the subsidy that goes with it. Columbia County’s EMA Director, Pam Tucker says keeping a contract protects residents. … Richmond County leaders are scheduled to discuss terminating the city’s contract with Gold Cross in a commission meeting on Tuesday.