EMS contract benefits city and county

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2019

When Medical Transport LLC informed Southampton County that it intended to terminate its emergency medical services agreement with the county effective 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2019, the county’s Board of Supervisors were left with four options: initiating emergency procurement procedures to implement a short-term contract with another private ambulance service; establishing its own Southampton County Department of Fire & EMS; contracting with the City of Franklin; or some combination of the first three choices.

On Sept. 10, the county’s full EMS Advisory Committee unanimously voted to recommend that the Board of Supervisors contract with Franklin, noting that as of that date, the county had 100 days to implement a solution. Per that recommendation, the Board of Supervisors and Franklin’s City Council each voted on Monday to approve an agreement that will result in the city providing two EMS employees at each of the county’s four volunteer rescue stations, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The details of this agreement are explained on page A1, but suffice to say, we feel the county and city both made the right decision.

As a result of this agreement, the city will need to hire an additional 24 EMTs and/or paramedics, which, as City Manager Amanda Jarratt pointed out during Franklin’s City Council meeting, will create opportunities for advancement for its current EMS personnel, thereby increasing the likelihood that these employees will choose to continue working for Franklin. It will also bring new people to Franklin and Southampton County, who may choose to live, eat and shop here.

As for Southampton, Deputy County Administrator Lynette Lowe has said that the county will receive more EMS support from Franklin than it had been receiving from Medical Transport LLC. The agenda for Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting stated that the increase in EMS personnel available to the county will come at the exact same cost ($2,090,423) that had already been included in the county’s 2020 budget for contractual emergency medical services.