York County’s EMS plan draws critics from rescue squads

Posted November 5, 2013 3:49 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

A dozen opponents of York County’s pending EMS dispatch plan turned out Monday to voice their concerns with York County Council.

The county is currently negotiating what’s commonly known as the “Tenth Addendum” or the latest change of the county’s contract with Piedmont Medical Center and its EMS Service.

At the heart of the issue is a change to the way ambulances are dispatched and how volunteer rescue efforts fit in the picture.

Tim McMichael, director of the Fort Mill Rescue Squad, criticized the plan Monday, saying it does nothing about ending the dangerous practice of sending more than one speeding ambulance to a call.

“This doesn’t have anything to do with sending two ambulances,” McMichael said. “This is the competitive environment that’s been allowed to grow. This agreement fails to address that; it fails to address that competitive environment…it actually has the ability to make it work.”

Representatives of Piedmont were not present at Monday’s meeting, citing the issue as an ongoing contractual matter.

Leo Yakutis, director of the River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS, contested that the dual dispatch plan was written into the county’s initial agreement and contends updating that policy does not require all the pomp and circumstance seen today.

“There is no contractual requirement for dual dispatch. As a matter of fact there is no contractual requirement for dispatch at all,” Yakutis said.

Yakutis said the county has the flexibility to add the state-requested changes without all the  extra work the county has undertaken.

Monday’s public hearing was the only one council will hold before casting final votes on the EMS plan and 10th Addendum to the county’s contract with Piedmont later this month.