Franchise addition tabled

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, December 9, 2014

WINTON – There is a need to improve the level of medical care when a patient needs to be transported from the local hospital in order to receive more advanced care.

However, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners says that issue bears further study.

At their meeting here last week, the Board voted to table a measure that would permit Gates County EMS to operate in Hertford County.

All EMS/rescue squads answering calls – emergency and non-emergency – in Hertford County must first gain the favor of the Board of Commissioners before they receive an operational franchise permit.

According to Hertford County EMS Director James Broglin, the Transportation Advisory Committee met Nov. 5 to review current franchises as well as to study two new applications. Broglin said the committee discussed if there was a need for additional agents to provide medical transport.

“A representative from Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital explained to the committee of the concerns and issues the hospital is having with getting paramedic level transport service in a timely manner,” Broglin said. “The committee learned that in the last three months there have been 277 transports out of the ED (Emergency Department) and 173 have been paramedic level.”

Broglin went on to explain that the hospital has a goal to have a patient in transit from RCH to a higher level care facility within 30 minutes from the point of where a transport service is first contacted.

“Currently that goal is only being met about 50 percent of the time,” Broglin told the Commissioners.

He added that the Transportation Advisory Committee was in agreement that the county needed one additional transport service at this time. The committee recommended the Commissioners grant an operational franchise to Gates County EMS, only for the purpose of providing ALS non-emergency transport out of Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

Following discussion, the Commissioners decided to table the request and bring it back up at an upcoming meeting.

In a related matter, the Commissioners did approve a contract between Hertford County EMS and Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital, stating that HCEMS agrees to “provide timely and appropriate transportation services, and will not discriminate in the treatment of a patient because of the individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, health status, sex, martial status, age or the source or amount of payment available.”

For that medical transportation service, the contract calls for the hospital to pay the ambulance service an amount equal to the then-current Medicare rate for transport.

The contract is effective immediately and is good for an initial period of one year. Thereafter, the contract will be automatically renewed for one-year terms unless terminated by either party at any time, without cause, upon 30 days written notice.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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