Bertie studies EMS ordinance

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 28, 2005

WINDSOR – It’s all about doing what is best for the majority.

With that in mind, the Bertie Board of Commissioners are considering an ordinance that regulates its Emergency Medical Service (EMS) operation as well as granting franchises to EMS services and ambulance operators who provide non-emergency transport.

Bertie becomes the latest local county to study this measure. Hertford County already has such an ordinance in place.

&uot;The ordinance requires certification of all transport services and EMS personnel,&uot; said Lloyd Smith who serves as the attorney to the Bertie Commissioners. &uot;This ordinance is one that all EMS operators and ambulance operators must abide by. No one will be ‘grand fathered’ in.&uot; Smith continued, &uot;Those currently providing such services in Bertie County will need to apply for a franchise, just as a new provider would be required to do. Those service providers would be required to comply with the regulations written within the franchise ordinance.&uot;

Currently, there are at least six organizations serving Bertie County with emergency or non-emergency transport. All would have to show they are within compliance of the franchise ordinance.

Additionally, each individual transport organization would come under the scrutiny of the Bertie County Emergency Transport Council. That Council – one member from the Bertie County Rescue Association, the Bertie Memorial Hospital administrator (or their designee), one Bertie Commissioner, Bertie’s Emergency Management Coordinator and two at-large county citizens (as appointed by the Commissioners) – will share the responsibility on matters relating to the ordinance.

The final decision of granting franchise agreements will be left in the hands of the Board of Commissioners.

In order to gauge opinions on this matter, the Commissioners have scheduled a 10:25 a.m. public hearing on April 4 in the Commissioners Room, County Office Building located adjacent to the Bertie Courthouse.

There, county citizens and interested groups will have the opportunity to voice their concerns over this proposed ordinance, one that includes the following select items:

N Appropriate training and certification (by the NC Office of Emergency Medical Services) of ambulance attendants and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s).

N Proper definition of an emergency transportation service – one with the equipment and trained personnel to provide medical care of a patient who is in need of immediate medical treatment – and non-emergency transport service – operation of an ambulance for any purpose other than transporting emergency patients. Applicants may apply for a franchise to operate either an emergency or non-emergency service or both.

N Each transport vehicle used in the business must have a valid, operational permit from the state Office of Emergency Medical Services. No person within that vehicle shall drive or attend to a patient unless certified and hold a valid permit from the same state Office.

N Each vehicle must be equipped with an operational two-way radio capable of establishing good quality voice communications from within the geographic confines of the county.

N At all times, the franchisee must have insurance coverage in force. Those sums are required to be $1 million for injury or death of individuals involved in accidents resulting from any cause of which the owner of the vehicle would be liable. An additional sum of $100,000 is required for the loss of or damage to the property of another, including personal property.

N Each franchise is required to maintain permanent records of times of dispatch, trip information, a daily report log and a daily driver and attendant checklist and inspection report.

N Each franchise shall submit a schedule of rates to the county for approval. They shall not charge more or less than the approved rates without specific approval by the county.

N The county, at any time, has the right to inspect the records of a franchise as well as inspect its premises and equipment in order to ensure compliance.

N The Board of Commissioners has the authority to designate specific areas as franchise districts.

N Either the county or the service provider may terminate the franchise upon 60 days prior notice to the other party.