County Council skirts decision on ambulance dispatch plan

Posted February 5, 2013 12:44 am | Filed under Local News

York County Council Monday delayed a vote on updating a decades-old contract with Piedmont Medical Center designed to mesh the county’s two Rescue Squads with a master EMS dispatch plan.

Dozens of volunteer Paramedics and supporters filled council chambers Monday after several changes to the proposed contract called for new requirements on behalf of the Rescue Squads

Bryan Murphy of the Fort Mill/Tega Cay Rescue Squad said he was pleased with the county’s decision.

Changes to the contract, which ultimately is between Piedmont Medical Center and York County, come at the urging of the State Department of Health and Environmental Control.

This new contract would have combined the efforts of both Rescue Squads and EMS to strategically place those ambulances across York County in areas where they are needed the most, regardless of their origin.

The proposal would have put all ambulance services under one dispatch plan where the county — not the squads themselves — would decide where to best place the ambulances to best serve the public. Tim McMichael heads the Fort Mill/Tega Cay Rescue Squad.

It’s a system called ‘dynamic dispatch’ — and it’s currently in use by Piedmont Medical Center to strategically position the hospital’s ambulances to areas where they can respond faster to calls for service based on historical data.

County staff had been working closely with the squads and Piedmont Medical Center to eliminate “dual dispatch” which has, at times, led to multiple ambulances needlessly racing to one location.

Under the new plan, ambulances operated by the rescue squads and Piedmont would be treated equally, but likewise, would be subject to the same standards and responsibilities.