Franchise approved

Published 9:01 pm Sunday, October 25, 2009

JACKSON — With a third non-emergency transport franchise being granted, Northampton County officials are looking into a franchise assessment fee.

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved the second reading of an EMS non-emergency franchise, officially authorizing Atlas Medical Transport, Inc. to operate within the county.

Meanwhile, Commission Vice Chair Fannie Greene suggested to her colleagues that the county look into a franchise assessment fee.

The commissioners first granted Atlas Medical Transport a franchise in August. General Statutes require a second reading and vote prior to a franchise being granted to the requesting party.

Atlas Medical is owned and operated by Terry Campbell, who lives in Halifax County. The company is based out of Pitt County. Atlas Medical has been in business since 2005 and is currently franchised in Pitt County.

In August, Campbell told the commissioners he is familiar with the area as he worked both Halifax and Northampton counties as a North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper for 23 years.

Campbell said he would like to begin with two trucks in the county and they would serve to transport patients from nursing homes as well as individuals on non-emergency calls to doctors appointments and medical procedures (kidney dialysis, x-rays etc.). He said his trucks would also be available during disasters such as hurricanes. He added his company is properly insured as required by state and local counties.

Campbell said, with different shifts, approximately 10 people would work between the two trucks and that he would hire everyone he could get from Northampton that were either certified EMTs or medical responders (those who drive ambulances).

Northampton currently has two out-of-county providers (Eastern Medical Transport and Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad) that provide non-emergency transport. All of the county’s volunteer rescue squads also have franchises for non-emergency and emergency transportation.

Greene offered a motion to approve the second reading of the EMS non-emergency franchise for Atlas Medical Transport, Inc. It was seconded by Commissioner Virginia Spruill. The motion passed without objection.

Campbell, who was in attendance at the meeting, thanked the board, County Manager Wayne Jenkins and County Attorney Charles Vaughan for their granting and work on the franchise.

“We will provide the best service to Northampton,” he said.

Later during board comments, Greene congratulated Atlas Medical Transport and added that now with Northampton having three franchised non-emergency transport services, the county should discuss implementing a franchise assessment fee.

Greene, addressing the board and Jenkins, said typically all franchises have some type of franchise assessment fee.

“I think we need to look at that with all of the transport services that we have coming into the county and let’s talk about that,” she said.