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Newton County not to pursue EMS license

Move will save county move than $1 million

Post Date:06/14/2017 4:50 PM

The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted not to pursue a state license to operate emergency medical services Tuesday night

During a special called meeting, the Board of Commissioners (BOC) moved to inform Piedmont Newton Hospital that it will continue to subsidize the operation of its ambulance service only through July 31. After that, the license will be held by the state, which will select emergency medical service for the area.

Newton County has subsidized the Newton County hospital for ambulance services since the 1970’s. Piedmont, a private entity, took over the hospital in 2015 from the Newton County Hospital Authority. Piedmont Newton requested significantly more than the current funding that is in excess of $1.2 million.

Those funds are key to the county’s revenue needs in operating the county’s maintenance and operation budget without requesting a millage rate increase from its citizens. Newton County’s Board of Commissioners reached a consensus on its Fiscal Year 2018 budget recently and was expected to vote on Tuesday, June 20, for a budget that would feature additional support for public safety, in particular the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Services.

Discussions were held between Newton County and Piedmont Newton in regards to the county ending its subsidy. Piedmont Newton has decided to no longer fund the ambulance services and not to carry the license, which it has previous held.

The BOC voted Tuesday night to allow the state to carry the license and open the zone up to other EMS companies. Ambulances will continue to operate within Newton County, first through a mutual aid agreement and then shortly after with a private service. Region III EMS, a state agency, will put out a request for proposals for an EMS provider. The qualified companies will then be assessed by a committee which will pick the best option for this zone.

Region III EMS, is made up of eight counties, in which four hold their own EMS license and four licenses are held by the state.

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