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Tracking ambulance response times in Richmond County

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’ve been telling you about the city’s push for a new contract with Gold Cross EMS calling for more accountability.

Now, we’re getting a better idea of what that looks like.

We talked to Augusta Commission members about how they plan to stay on top of response times to make sure you get quick emergency care.

“We’re still getting concerns. I got one just yesterday morning,” said Ben Hasan, commissioner for District 6.

The focus of the new contract is more accountability, especially when it comes to response times.

“I just know it’s something that needs to be done based on the volume of what calls you get of people talking about poor arrival times,” he said.

Commissioners would like the contract to include a standard response time. Like under 30 minutes, for example. If an ambulance goes over that time, Gold Cross will have to pay a fine.

“Anytime you can hold people accountable in a way that they can feel it in their pocketbooks, it does make good business sense,” said Hasan.

Dekalb County did something similar with their EMS provider, AMR. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AMR had to pay nearly $2 million in penalties for slow response times.

Williams, commissioner for District 2, said: “Now the complaint dies, somebody raises a little hell for a few days, and then it’s gone.”

Separate from the contract, Williams is also proposing a committee to investigate Gold Cross complaints.

Time and money are just words on a page, but it might mean the difference between life and death.

Commissioners will meet soon for a work session. There they’ll discuss a standard arrival time and possible fine amounts.

“To establish data and establish a procedure that the public can have and be aware of to file complaints and issues with the provider,” he said.

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