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Private ambulance service appears to need permit
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Pro Med ambulance service appears to be operating out of Warren County without a business permit.
The matter was recently discussed by the county’s Safety Committee members.
Warren County Emergency Ambulance Service director Brian Jennings said he believes the privately run ambulance service is sitting in Walmart’s parking lot waiting for something to happen.
“They prey on the public,” said Jennings. “What the public doesn’t know is that they don’t have everything available in their ambulances like ours do and that ambulance service will fail them. They also want what we call the cream runs, from the nursing home to the doctor’s office and back to the nursing home. Everyone is struggling to make money now.”
Commissioner Les Trotman said, “The citizens of this county pay taxes for emergency care. It is not fair to people for private companies that are here just to make a profit. We want to make sure if a company is here, they are have a certified Class A unit with a paramedic and an EMT on board, like ours do. The survival rate for a patient riding in an ambulance with a paramedic on board increases 90 percent. I have seen private ambulances that only have a gurney and an oxygen tank on them. Ours is fully equipped with medicine, blood pressure cuff and an auto-pulse unit which performs contractions on a person with a heart condition as well as what the other ambulances have, not to mention a paramedic as well as an EMT.”
“They are just a taxi service,” said Commissioner Teddy Boyd.
The commissioners voted for the county attorney’s office to review the current guidelines, define “operating” and recommend the proper process to close the county to operation of private ambulance services.
Jennings said on more than one occasion, Warren County Ambulance Service has gone to pick up a patient for transport and the patient was not there because a private ambulance service had already picked them up.
“We still get paid for that,” said Jennings. “If we show up for a scheduled run and the patient is not there, the nursing home or whoever will still receive a bill. That is not happening as much any more because they know they will have to pay for our services anyway.”
The county’s newest ambulance, a 2013 Dodge Ram 4500 4x4, was inspected by commissioners. The county currently has eight ambulances, two which are spares in case of mechanical failure or maintenance issues with the main six vehicles. The newest addition is almost ready for service. Jennings is excited to have their newest as a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Jennings said, “This is the first 4-wheel drive we have ever had in our fleet. In the past, if we had to use some type of 4-wheel drive, it was someone’s Jeep or Suburban we used to access people in rough terrain. This adds one more tool if we are faced with inclement weather or snowy conditions.”
“This ambulance will be stocked identical to our other ambulances, which are ALS or Advanced Life Support ambulances. We have the latest technology. We have had AutoPulse machines for about four years. They provide chest compressions during CPR. We have 12 lead capabilities for cardiac monitoring and we have modems which can transmit information to the hospital wirelessly. I predict we will see more and more aspects of telemedicine in the future,” said Jennings.