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Piedmont reverses stance on EMS license

COVINGTON, Ga. – Piedmont Newton Hospital has notified Newton County and the State of Georgia of its intent to retain its license to provide ambulance service in the county.

According to a statement from Piedmont Spokesperson Sydney D. Walker, the hospital notified both the county and the state June 27 of the decision.

“Piedmont Newton believes the decision is in the best interest of the citizens of Newton County,” she said.

Walker said the length of time the hospital intends to provide service is still in discussion.

“As for your question regarding a length of service, that date/information is still in discussion. I cannot provide any additional details at this time as Piedmont Newton’s plans are still in development,” she said.

The Covington News emailed additional questions to Walker concerning the hospital’s position change and its decision making process, including who made the decision, and where did they make it.

“This was a collective Piedmont decision,” Walker responded. “I can’t respond to any of your other questions at this time, however, I will make note of them and will work on responses once our plan has been finalized. Like I said, Piedmont Newton’s plan is still being developed.”

Piedmont Newton had reportedly previously notified the state that it intended to surrender its EMS license effective July 31 at midnight. The county had said it would not be paying the hospital a requested $1.7 million subsidy for EMS service and the hospital earlier this month expressed its intention to get out of the EMS business.

As a result, the county voted during a special called meeting June 20 to pursue its own license to provide EMS and reached an agreement with Grady EMS last week to provide ambulance service on a six month short term mutual aid basis while the county searched for a permanent EMS provider.

District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards told The News the hospital told the county that its decision to retain its license was not contingent on any subsidy from the county.

Commissioners reached a consensus on the county’s FY 2018 budget at a work session Monday night that included an approximately $450,000 set aside for EMS service if needed. Edwards said the fate of those funds has not been determined.

The Covington News will continue to update this report as information becomes available.