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Healthcare authority mulls ambulance service

The Escambia County Health Care Authority is working with LifeGuard Ambulance Service to see if it’s feasible for the ambulance service to provide more service in Escambia County, Ala.

Chris Griffin of the Health Care Authority said the discussion is not new and has been ongoing.

In May, the authority reached an agreement with LifeGuard to provide 24/7 EMS coverage for the central area of Escambia County, which included the town of Flomaton.

This came after Escambia County (Fla.) EMS notified the authority they sought to be released from the agreement to provide the ambulance service for the central part of the county.

Griffin said that LifeGuard expressed interest in more coverage area.

Griffin said that the ambulance provider has submitted two proposals to the health care authority – one that would cover the Flomaton and Brewton areas and another quote is for the entire county, which would provide coordinated services for the entire county, including dispatch.  The board and LifeGuard are currently working to reach an agreement that best fits the needs of both entities.

“The board is trying to make the best decision to have the best quality of service,” he said.

Griffin said that LifeGuard currently provides 100 percent coverage for Baldwin and Santa Rosa counties, which are neighboring counties to Escambia Co.

There have been some questions from the community about the need to do this.

Griffin said it has nothing to do with the quality of care provided by D.W. McMillan EMS.

He said that authority board members want to allow residents in the county to have the best possible service for the best possible price.

“Quality of service is not why we are doing this,” Griffin said. “We are trying to figure out how do we leverage what we have and get it to the whole county.”

Griffin said if an agreement is reached that LifeGuard would take all of DWM EMS staff members, with the caveat that staff members could pass the ambulance service’s screening process.

The cities of Brewton and East Brewton, as well as Flomaton, have sent letters in support agreeing to allow LifeGuard to be the ambulance service provider for one year, if the health care authority reaches an agreement with the ambulance provider.