Freedom of choice

Published 10:36 am Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thanks goodness there are no advisory committees in Hertford County regulating the number of churches, supermarkets and restaurants.

If that were the case, local citizens or visitors to the county would not have a wide variety of the aforementioned establishments to choose from.

So why is it that Hertford County citizens – those in need of non-emergency transport to a medical facility, rest/nursing home, etc. – only have two options to provide that service?

Why doesn’t county officials allow for free enterprise, thus giving their citizens a choice of transport provider….much in the same way those citizens have the right to choose what church to attend, what supermarket to shop and in what restaurant to enjoy a meal?

In March of 2008, Hertford County enlisted the paid services of Steve Allen with Solutions 4 Local Government. His job was to study the pros and cons of the services offered by Hertford County Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

In that report, Allen said the county needed to address the non-emergency transport currently being conducted by Hertford County EMS. “You have three options,” he said. “One, stop it. Two, continue to do it, but hire staff to put on it. Three, contract it.”

We agree. Hertford County officials need to either go full steam into creating a wing of EMS that only deals with non-emergency transports, which, but the way, is a money-making business, or completely do away with providing those types of transports and open the door for more than one certified private company to serve the needs of county citizens.

Hertford County’s Commissioners are scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Monday to discuss revisions to the county’s Franchise Ordinance, one that governs non-emergency transport providers.

If the county opts to pull the plug on EMS providing non-emergency transports, we hope that free enterprise soon follows, including any private providers that in the past sought an operations franchise in Hertford County but were denied.