County should look closely at EMS options

Published 6:15 am Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Decatur County and its team of commissioners have been going back and forth about whether or not to privatize the county’s Emergency Medical Services.

Tuesday morning, commissioners held a meeting and listened to an employee about the current pay cuts facing the EMS personnel in the county.

Monty Bullock, a paramedic with Decatur EMS ,said he knows of other employees who have gone elsewhere geographically for better pay, while Decatur employees have not seen pay increases in close to six years.

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The most obvious sign, apart from benefits that could be collected from privatization, is that an employee within the county EMS is cheering heavily for this change.

Bullock urged the commission to privatize — and that is our stance as well. When someone from within — an employee who knows his own field and works the EMS job each day — encourages the commission to privatize, then they should very much consider it.

“My salary has just been cut $6,000 (from the shift reduction to 16 hour days) and I haven’t had a raise in six years. We haven’t bought a new ambulance in nearly three years and our trucks are breaking down constantly. If we bought a new ambulance this year, that deficit would be back to $450,000,” Bullock said.

We encourage the commission to really dig deep into these numbers given by Mid Georgia Ambulance of Adel on what the privatization would look like as well as the figures presented by Bullock and make a decision.

Mid Georgia Ambulance of Adel claims to be the largest ambulance company in the state geographically and told the county they would pay for their own vehicles, as well as pay all utilities where they are housed.

The company also claims to do much community outreach, including teaching thousands to do CPR.

The commission should not roll their eyes at these proposals, but take a good look at the offer before them.

When dealing with EMS, there is a lot on the line to lose — we are talking about safety and response times of accidents and care and treatment of victims — victims that are our friends and neighbors.

We want to see the EMS thrive, and for the community to be taken care of.