Thomas Co. commissioners discuss ambulance service options

Thomas Co. commissioners discuss ambulance service options

THOMAS CO., GA (WALB) - Commissioners in Thomas County say the county is paying nearly triple the amount others do for their ambulance services and they want to do something about it.

The county is looking at several options including privatizing their ambulance services.

9,000 calls a year cost Thomas County $1.8 million, That amount county leaders say is just too much.

"I feel like we owe it to the taxpayers of Thomas county to give this a look and see if there might be a way to save us some money and reduce the cost," said Mike Stephenson, County Manager.

They want to trim the budget but not the service.

Stephenson says he wants the quality of care to remain the same but just a fraction of the cost.

Nearby Counties like Mitchell and Lowndes are spending less than a million dollars a year on these services.

"That's quite a large portion of our county budget but It was a greater difference than I expected," said Stephenson.

Lowndes county which makes around 20,000 calls a year, spends $716,000 dollars on ambulance services.

Mitchell County, a good comparison when it comes to population size, makes 3,000 annually and spends $536,000 dollars a year on services.

So how do Thomas County commissioners plan to trim to their costs? The could switch to a private ambulance service.

The commissioners will also be look at consolidating resources with the city.

The last option is to switch to a private billing company.

A main concern for some commissioners in the meeting was about the future of current employers.

"We have loyal employees that have done a good job and have been here for many years. If we got to that point we would certainly want to make sure the interest of our employees are safeguarded," said Stephenson.

He said if the county does decide to switch to a private company there are ways to let the current EMTs transfer over.

Commissioners will review all the proposals in the next coming weeks.

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