COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) did an about-face on emergency medical services (EMS) in the county Tuesday night, voting 5-0 to direct County Attorney Megan Martin to “have a completed application for ground ambulance licensure executed by Commission Chairman Banes and submitted to the State no later than June 22, 2017.”
A week earlier, during a special called meeting, Commissioners Nancy Schulz, Ronnie Cowan and Stan Edwards, with J.C. Henderson dissenting, had voted to instruct Martin to notify the State that the county did not wish to pursue the license and ask them to find an ambulance provider. Tuesday’s vote followed an earlier BOC work session dealing with the EMS issue that included EMS and public safety professionals.
The BOC also voted to authorize County Manager Lloyd Kerr, Fire Chief Michael Conner and 911 Center Director Mike Smith to begin work immediately to reach a short-term mutual aid agreement with a licensed provider of EMS and ambulance services in accordance with the county’s emergency procurement policy.
Commissioners also voted to direct Martin to prepare a resolution establishing a county EMS Advisory Committee. Included on the team will be an emergency room physician, emergency room nurse and nurse practitioner, health care provider with an expertise in pediatrics, the county 911 director, the Newton County fire chief, City of Covington fire chief, the county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director, the county manager, a practicing paramedic or EMT and representative from the Sheriff’s Office. There will be no elected officials on the committee. The committee will be responsible for oversight of the EMS process and assist with the selection of an EMS provider.
Piedmont Newton Hospital will continue to provide ambulance service in the county through July 31.