Over 250 people showed up for a meeting at the Chattooga County Civic Center on Tuesday evening to hear proposals from Redmond Regional Medical Center and Floyd Medical Center about providing EMS service to Chattooga County.

Commissioner Jason Winters introduced the meeting by saying that no decision has been made and that the meeting was part of a deliberative process to make the best decision for providing EMS service for Chattooga County. 

Redmond Regional Medical Center pointed out that they are the closest hospital to Chattooga County and would provide four EMS stations to the county – one in Summerville at the current EMS Building, another in Trion and one on the Lyerly Highway as well as a facility in the Gore-Subligna area.  There were no plans by Redmond to station an ambulance in the Menlo or Cloudland areas – two areas that are the furthest from any hospital in Rome. 

Floyd Hospital representative Bud Owens spoke saying that Floyd would create a community advisory council composed of six people from several areas of the county.  Floyd is committing to providing four ambulances stationed throughout the county.  Owens said that the advisory board and the current EMS staff of Chattooga County would help determine where the ambulances would be stationed. 

Both Redmond and Floyd said that they would provide non-emergency services for the county and would be expanding hours at their current Urgent Care Centers located in Chattooga County.  Both organizations said that they would lease the current EMS headquarters from the county. 

Both said that they would hire every employee and that those employees would be receiving substantial pay increases. Redmond said that they would be looking to add around 10 employees immediately.  Floyd said that 20 new employees would be hired immediately.  Both organizations said that all employees coming from the current Chattooga County EMS would immediately get health insurance benefits and seniority. 

When the floor was opened to the public for questions, there were a variety of issues raised.  One of the most common themes was the issue of “local control.”  Other questions centered on what would happen to current EMS employees.  Both Floyd and Redmond reassured residents that all current employees would retain their positions. 

Another question was “Are we going to hear a county proposal?”  Commissioner Winters said that he and Herbert Dodd were working to come up with a proposal to match what Redmond and Floyd could provide.  Winters said for the county to propose a fourth truck would cost an additional $300,000 per year. 

Winters said that he would present that proposal before a decision would be made. 

AM 1180 will broadcast excerpts from the meeting, which lasted over two and one half hours, coming up today at 9 AM and will have more on the meeting in upcoming newscasts.