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Piedmont to use outside company for Newton County emergency service
Piedmont Newton Front
Piedmont Newton Hospital in Covington - photo by Special to The Covington News

COVINGTON, Ga. — Piedmont Newton announced today that it has signed service agreements with Georgia’s largest private ambulance network, Priority Ambulance, to respond to calls in the hospital’s designated 911 zone within Newton County.

It also will serve the hospital’s interfacility transport needs.

“At Piedmont Newton, our top priority has always been and will continue to be providing the highest quality medical care and emergency medical services to our community,” said Piedmont Newton CEO David Kent. 

“In Priority Ambulance, we have an expert partner with the sole focus of elevating ambulance service in Newton County with additional resources and national expertise. Piedmont Newton’s leadership will focus on our core mission of providing exceptional services at our hospital.”

Piedmont Newton holds the designated 9-1-1 zone for ambulance service that encompasses Newton County. It will contract with National EMS, which is owned by Priority Ambulance, to provide 9-1-1 service to its zone.

All current employees of Piedmont Newton EMS will be invited to stay and will maintain seniority within the system. Additionally, Piedmont Newton’s EMS Director Carli Cuendet will be joining the Priority Ambulance team.

“We welcome the Piedmont Newton EMS employees to the Priority Ambulance family,” said Priority Ambulance Regional President Robby Atkins. 

“Priority Ambulance’s Georgia companies National EMS and Central EMS have served Piedmont Health facilities in Georgia for many years. We are proud to be trusted by Piedmont Newton to provide professional, prompt 9-1-1 response to the community and to serve their patients and hospital staff. We look forward to a great partnership and are committed to working together to continue to advance medical transportation services,” Atkins said.

Priority Ambulance will buy seven ambulances from Piedmont Newton and will maintain the staffing levels currently in the 911 system – five advanced life support ambulances during peak daytime hours. 

Separate from ambulances dedicated to the 911 system, National EMS's sister company Central EMS will be stationing additional ambulances at the hospital to immediately respond to transport requests between medical facilities or discharges from the hospital.

“With the additional ambulance resources, technology and opportunities for education and advancement that Priority Ambulance has access to as a national company, we are confident that this new partnership will be positive for our EMS and hospital staff, as well as the community,” Kent said.

Priority Ambulance will begin an implementation period immediately to transition current EMS staff. The company will begin providing 9-1-1 and interfacility ambulance services in early May. 

Priority Ambulance operates more than 150 ambulances and employs more than 1,000 EMS professionals in the state of Georgia under four brands, Central EMS, National EMS, Puckett EMS and Ambucare. 

National EMS is the 9-1-1 provider to neighboring Rockdale and Morgan counties, as well as Oconee and Athens-Clarke County in the region. 

In total, Priority Ambulance serves more than 20 Georgia counties, including serving seven counties as the primary 9-1-1 provider.

Priority Ambulance is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and approximately 3,400 paramedics and EMTs staff a fleet of approximately 650 state-of-the-art emergency vehicles with the latest medical equipment and technology under local brands in 12 states.

Piedmont Healthcare is a private, not-for-profit organization with more than 23,000 employees caring for 2.7 million patients across 800 locations and serving communities that comprise 70 percent of Georgia’s population. 

It operates 11 hospitals, 35 Piedmont Urgent Care centers, 25 QuickCare locations, 1,875 Piedmont Clinic physician practices and has more than 2,500 Piedmont Clinic members.