Everage: 911 calls will be dispatched to Care

Published 9:58 pm Monday, December 15, 2008

Now that the Pike County ambulance contract is all said and done, there still remain two ambulance services locally.

But, officials have specified emergency calls will be designated to the contracted provider Care Ambulance.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said calls that come to 911 will be automatically dispatched to Care.

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“If you call on 911, which is what you would call for an emergency, we’re going to send Care,” Everage said.

In a Troy City Council work session last week, Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said there was a need to have the contracted ambulance service take all emergency calls, since they are required by law to be fully staffed.

Residents with ambulance needs will be able to choose — but they will have to go directly to Haynes if they don’t want Care’s service.

“We can not expedite that call directly,” Everage said. “If you want Haynes, you need to call Haynes.”

Pike County Attorney Allen Jones said last week, under an opinion of the Attorney General, a county with two ambulance services, will dispatch emergency calls to the one under contract.

Jones said in the past when there have been multiple ambulance providers, the contracted service has always taken 911 calls, and they will continue in the same way.

Haynes Chief Operating Officer Kirk Barrett said he isn’t certain the law mandates the contracted company to take the calls.

“Our interpretation is the citizen has a right to choose, whether it be emergency or non-emergency,” Barrett said. “We’re trying to get a clear understanding of the law now.”

Regardless of the dispute, if someone wants to use Haynes rather than Care, they have to call Haynes directly.

Now that they have not received the contract, Haynes isn’t required to provide four staffed ambulances in Pike County.

Barrett said they will keep 24-hour paramedic services, but how many will depend on the need.

“We’re going to have to look and see what the call volume’s going to be,” Barrett said. “If we get enough, we’ll staff however many it takes.”

And even without the contract, Barrett said using Haynes ambulance service will still cost the same as recorded in their bid.

Without any insurance deductions, Haynes ambulance will cost $275 for basic life support service, $425 for non-emergency advanced life support service, $500 for emergency ALS and $600 for the most advanced service.

On top of this, the bill will add $9 per traveled mile.

Compared to Care Ambulance, the charges will be: $330 for BLS non-emergencies, $480 for BLS emergencies, $375 for ALS non-emergencies and $600 for ALS emergencies. This will add an extra $10 per mile traveled.

Barrett said aside from determining whether Haynes could legally be called for at dispatch, he is also seeking answers.

“We still haven’t heard what went on in the (Pike County Commission) executive session when they changed their mind,” Barrett said. “We’re going to request a response on why they changed their mind.”