Commissioner to discuss contract with EMS - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Commissioner to discuss contract with EMS

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Eight minutes is how long Gold Cross says it takes for one of its ambulances to respond to an emergency.

"I think we do an excellent, excellent job at covering the 911 calls that come in," said Vince Brogdon, CEO of Gold Cross.

But the response time depends on the call coming in: it's eight minutes for a "Priority 1" emergency; the most serious of an urgent situation. Gold Cross dispatchers categorize emergencies, as priorities 1, 2, and 3, following a national guide.

But labeling an emergency is an issue Richmond County Fire Chief Chris James says is not specified in the contract between the city and the emergency medical service company.

"Right now a contract provider determines what priority they want to put a call in," Chief James said.

That's just one of the problems Chief James brought to the commission this week. And now commissioners are deciding whether or not the contract with Gold Cross should be revised.

"I think the contract needs to go up for bid, only so that we can address the issues in a new contract," Chief James said.

Another issue Chief James brought up was there not being a specified number of ambulances required to stay in Richmond County. He says he's not dissatisfied with Gold Cross' service, but says the contract is too vague, which keeps him from making sure the company lives up to it's the contracts standards. Right now, Gold Cross has 20 ambulances serving Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties.

"We are in meet and exceed the expectations of the contract by far," Brogdon said.

Gold Cross has been in contract with the city since 2006. Their contract will be up this year, unless commissioners decide to renew their agreement.

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