By Stan Welch
Emergency medical service (EMS) providers generate the majority of their revenues by their transport of non-emergent patients and clients. On Tuesday night, the Anderson County Council took a preemptive first step to protect the county’s providers from outside poaching by non-emergent specialty transporters.
That step was first reading approval of an ordinance that would enfranchise local EMS providers, giving them certain protections and preferred status, and would make it more troublesome for outside providers to operate.
The ordinance refers specifically to private ambulance services operating within Anderson County for non-emergency patient transport. It establishes the procedures for applying for said franchise; the payment of franchise fees; the period of operation covered by the franchise, as well as numerous other circumstances, such as the denial of a renewed franchise agreement, or the termination of an existing one.
The ordinance also sets the standards applicable to the franchise, and the mechanics for disciplining a franchisee for failure to comply.
The EMS providers are essentially granted the franchise without further requirement. The ordinance will require two more readings and a public hearing before becoming law. Councilman Ray Graham, chairman of the Public Safety committee, sponsored the ordinance.