Decatur County EMS gets bad review from state office

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Georgia Office of Emergency Medical Services had a three-day meeting with Decatur and Seminole counties last week and identified a number of issues pertaining to each county’s EMS system.
After interviews and research, EMS Deputy Director Ernie Doss stated there are severe management issues within Decatur County’s EMS, including a lack of personnel structure, poor leadership and a failure to adhere to current clinical standards.
“We presented them with an initial report, a list of issues, and that’s all we presented,” Doss said.
Management issues also include inadequate maintenance of facilities and equipment and low morale among workers.
The list of management issues gives the Decatur County Board of Commissioners a glimpse at the official state of the county’s EMS before they decide on a three-option proposal from Doss and his team.
The first option is for Doss’ assessment team to provide an enumerated list of identified issues. The counties will then act to address and correct them.
The second option is for the assessment team to provide a written report listing the identified issues along with a model for a regional system with Seminole County.
“We would specifically recommend against any effort to establish such a system until all identified issues are resolved,” Doss said at the meeting last Thursday. Doss also noted Decatur County EMS Director Larry Battle is retiring June 6, and recommended the board consider appointing an interim director to address the identified issues, should they choose the first or second option.
The last option is to consider an alternative EMS model, including the possibility of privatization.
“What they told us was mostly what we already knew,” Decatur County Chairman Frank Loeffler said. “They talked to employees of both Decatur County and Donalsonville, the administrator (Gary Breedlove), everyone. This is how we find out the good, the bad and the ugly.”
The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on which option to take at the County Commission meeting next Tuesday at 7 p.m.