Who will control the Richmond County EMS zone?

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News12 First at Five/ Thur. March 13, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) -- It's an ongoing debate over who should be the city's ambulance provider and Gold Cross EMS wants the job.

It's all in the hands of a Regional Medical Council.

The same group that decided Augusta should be the zone provider. The state is calling for another vote to decide who will answer your 911 call in Richmond County.

In November of last year, a controversial vote by the Region 6 EMS council left Gold Cross EMS without control of the ambulance service in Richmond County.

"I think the vote today just set Richmond County back 20 years. Instead of moving it forward, I think it's going back 20 years," CEO Vince Brogdon said in November.

Brogdon still believes that.

"We want to stay for years to come. We want the zone to show we can do the job," Brogdon said.

"There's only a few counties in the state that have a co-zone. Why would Augusta, the second largest city, give up the zone to a private company," Commissioner Alvin Mason said.

The East Central Georgia Region 6 EMS Council voted twice to allow Richmond County to set wait times for 911 calls and the maximum number of ambulances a service has to have on the road. They voted twice because of a possible conflict of interest and the state agreed.

"I abstained in the vote, as you remember, and so did the our Jefferson County employee. The chief and 911 director did vote," Brogdon said.

"Let's go back and recuse ourselves and let's put people with these types of interests in mind," Mason said.

Commissioner Mason said it all boils down to money.

He said if a private company gets the full zone, they can set the price and standards which may not be up to par for the whole city.

"We would have people running a muck, anyway they want to and charging the city anything they want to charge. It doesn't make sense to do it that way," Mason said.

So, the process faces another vote as members consider things like economy, efficiency and the benefit to public welfare.

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