Jackson County Times

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

County Commission Writes New Ordinance Over Ambulance Services

New ordinance would make use of county ambulances mandatory.

Public Hearing scheduled on proposed ordinance. By Sid Riley

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Jackson County Commission, a proposed ordinance relating to the county’s system of regulating ambulance services was read for consideration. A public hearing on the proposed ordinance was scheduled for November 10.

This issue has arisen since Jackson Hospital has begun using Dothan Ambulance Service for some patient transfers which could be accomplished by Jackson County Fire and Rescue. The proposed ordinance adds sixteen new sections to the regulations governing this issue. The new rules require any ambulance service wishing to provide services within the county to first obtain a certificate of necessity from the Board. The rules also require these providers to work under the quality requirements defined by the county Director of EMS, and to provide a 24-7 service throughout the county.

If approved these requirements would prevent the out of county ambulances from performing patient transfers within the county, regardless of the wishes of the patient, the doctor, or the hospital. It in essence creates a “zone of monopoly” for the county ambulance system, regardless of cost differential or other relevant criteria.

Official Hospital Statement: “Jackson Hospital does have a contract with Dothan/Pilcher Ambulance Service. We routinely enter into contracts for goods and services because we always strive for new ways to improve patient care and quality to those we serve in Jackson and the surrounding counties. We will continue working with Jackson County officials on all health related issues, to include patient transport services, in a positive and collaborative manner.”

Any citizens who disagree with the establishment of this county operated ambulance monopoly should appear at the November 10 public hearing…..or forever hold your peace.

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