By Stan Welch
Earlier this year, Anderson County sent out contracts to its EMS providers to review. Those providers have been operating under the terms of last year’s contract, which has been extended twice, for sixty day periods, as negotiations have continued.
Handled separately was the selection of a provider or providers to serve the Williamston area. For some time, Medshore Ambulance equipment and personnel have worked out of the Williamston rescue squad facility, after the squad failed and closed down. But the County Council has been exploring a more formal and permanent solution to the situation.
County Administrator Rusty Burns told The Journal Monday that five responses to the county’s request for qualifications have been received. Last Friday was the deadline for such responses, and the responses are currently under review.
Two out of state operations responded; one from Alabama and another from Martinez, Georgia, near Aiken. Locally, Thorne Ambulance Service and MedShore responded with a complete bid. Pelzer Rescue Squad offered what Burns called a half bid, or a proposal to cover only half the territory involved. The request for proposals offered the option of two entities splitting the territory.
Dan Durham, board member of the Pelzer Rescue Squad, said his group reviewed the request and simply concluded that the demands on their squads to provide full service to the entire area would not allow them to break even, much less prosper in the process.
Burns said the first step is to ensure that all those responding meet the qualifications of the requests. The matter is not one of the low bidder automatically being successful, since the amount of the contract has already been determined by the county.
“We will carefully review the qualifications of the responding organizations, especially those out of state, since we are not familiar with them,” Burns said. “The local responders are well known and qualified. We hope to present our findings to the full Council in two or three weeks for their decision, so we can move along on the overall EMS question.”