Breedlove explains Grady EMS to Rotary

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove came to Rotary Tuesday to explain the privatization of the Emergency Medical Services.
He explained that the new five-year contract with Grady Memorial Hospital of Atlanta goes into effect September 1.
Breedlove said the contract was drafted by Decatur County Attorney Brown Moseley, and was reviewed by a Thomasville attorney representing Grady.
According to the terms of the contract, Grady guarantees it brings three new ambulances to Decatur County.  Decatur County currently owns six ambulances, all of which are high mileage and in need of repairs.
Grady then takes one of ours, one at a time, to be restored. He explained the box is put on a new chassis, and as ours are repaired they replace theirs with ours, all of which are leased to Grady for the term of the contract.
The ambulances will all be labeled Decatur Emergency Medical Services.
In addition, Breedlove said Grady personnel will train all of our emergency medical dispatchers, especially in procedures to follow while the ambulance is on the way. This training will occur in July and will be at no extra cost.
Grady Human Resources people will also screen and interview all our existing employees who are interested in working for Grady Medical Services.
Breedlove said this transitional process has been ongoing for quite some time. “I started out skeptical at first, but I am convinced, based on talking with the people from Grady, that they are coming here to do a bang-up job for the people of Decatur County.”
He mentioned the proposals had been reduced to three companies, with Middle Georgia being the runner-up. His major concern with that company was the cost. They would only guarantee two ambulances, 24 hours per day, at a cost exceeding $300,000. Grady is guaranteeing three ambulances, 24 hours per day, at a cost of $250,000. They had also tried to work out an arrangement that included Seminole County, and Breedlove said he is hopeful they will still come on board.
“We are looking at this as a permanent basis, not a test. That is also the attitude of the Grady leadership,” said Breedlove.
Breedlove’s presentation raised many questions from Rotarians ranging from the staffing and what to do if there were a major disaster to what if the contract is not lived up to.
Breedlove responded that there is no way you can plan for a major disaster, but there are mutual aid understandings with other counties in Region 8 and they are currently in the process of developing mutual aid policies.
Also, the volunteer firemen and public safety officers are trained as first responders.
Breedlove said if the contract is not lived up to by either party there are triggers to get out of the contract. “If they leave, we still have five refurbished ambulances and trained personnel.”
In answer to the question does the contract address their supplying other medical services and try to be in competition with our hospital, Breedlove responded, “That is prohibited during the term of the contract. The contract specifically states they will not open or provide other medical services in addition to EMS.”
Asked who will monitor the performance of the contract, Breedlove responded that is the duty of the county administrator.
Memorial Hospital and Manor CEO Billy Walker, a Rotarian, was asked at the conclusion of the meeting what he thought about the contract, as he had expressed concern at the May hospital board meeting, and also addressed the issue with the county commission. Walker simply stated, “I’m comfortable with the language in the contract.”
The facility that houses EMS is currently undergoing construction and renovation in order to house the new organization.
Breedlove also recognized Larry Battle, who has been Decatur County EMS director for 29 years. His term ends this Friday, and Decatur County Prison Warden Elijah McCoy will serve as interim director during the transition period.