Gadsden Considering New Medical Helicopter Contract

By: Blaine Tolison Email
By: Blaine Tolison Email

Gadsden County is doing everything it can to save money and that could mean finding new options for a medical helicopter. But its current medivac vendor is disappointed, saying it has served Gadsden well and doesn't understand the logic for the change.

In Gadsden County, the Air Medic Two and its staff are stationed at the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy. The owner/operator--Air Methods--says it has efficiently served Gadsden County for four years and they have no plans of leaving, but that could change.

Brian Beasley, the Gadsden County EMS Director said, "It's never been placed out, for RFP--request for proposal and it was just, felt it was time for the county to basically request a proposal from different vendors to see what other options may be out there for the county."

Air Methods says it has provided service to the local government for free and the recent request for proposals from other vendors was shocking. Randy Layman, with Air Methods said, "Instead of coming to us and saying can you help us work through this and can you be a partner, they decide to throw out an RFP without talking to us."

While the county says it has a right to see all other beneficial options, Air Methods believes Gadsden is trying to fix something that's not broken.

Layman said, "Our point is, we provide the service already in the county at no cost to the citizens, so why are they interested in risking county money--citizen's money for something that they already have."

The Gadsden County Board of Commissioners met on this issue Tuesday night. The county says it will move forward with discussions with both Air Methods and a potential new vendor, PHI Air Medical.

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  • by mad Location: quincy on Sep 9, 2008 at 10:16 AM
    I know these guys,and I tell you they are only interested in lining their pockets.The base rate for a helicopter transport is $6000. They plan on staffing it with rookie paramedics. Most have less than a year of experience. Most of these guys applied for other helicopter jobs and were turned down. They convinced Chief Beasley to find another company that will hire rookie paramedics.The cost of the helicopter will come from the pockets of Gadsden county tax payers.
  • by Corruption Junction Location: Quincy, FL on Jun 19, 2008 at 03:14 PM
    I sent a much longer post with some worthwhile information listed. Why wasn't it posted? It contained nothing objectionable and had no ad hominem attacks? Is WCTV being bought by Gadsden County Public Schools like the Gadsden County Times has been?
  • by taxpayer Location: Havana on Jun 19, 2008 at 01:40 PM
    Can anybody say how much they are going to have to raise my taxes to fund this endeavor? I don't pay for the service now if I don't need it. I researched the Co Commissioners minutes and found where the Ambulance Service just asked for a rate hike and asked to write off $385,000.00 dollars in uncollectable medicare/medicaid costs. I'm thinking that the write off for a fancy helicopter would be a whole lot more. After doing the math, that same write off would be $3,850,000.00 Can we afford that? If we have that much money, fix the road in front of my house. I looked at the previos posts of the costs of operation for said helicopter. Has anybody addressed the cost of the staff, workmans comp ( I know that has to be high for that job) and liability insurance? Who does the ambulance service plan on staffing this with? Are they qualified? I don't know how we can compete with the largest helicopter service in the country.Unless of course my taxes get raised, a lot. Fix my road!!!!
  • by Corruption Junction Location: Quincy, FL on Jun 19, 2008 at 12:46 PM
    And don't forget about Marlon Brown. He was on the up-and-up when he arrived in Quincy as County Manager. However, after just a couple of months, he became one of the "guys" and is now just as corrupt. I wouldn't be surprised if Brenda Holt and Ed Dixon found a way to get him paid for this new contract that will be awarded. Just go watch a County Commission meeting if you want to see these people in action. It's is a horrible farce that needs to be stopped.
  • by Tom on Jun 19, 2008 at 10:07 AM
    What a waste, Tallahassee is only 7 miles away, why even have a medivac with another so close. Especially when budgets are tight and saving on fuel and salaries should be considered. This is a multi million dollar expense to take on.
  • by Fred Location: Quincy on Jun 19, 2008 at 02:42 AM
    It will cost the tax payers of Gadsden county 87k per month plus 750.00 per flight hour, plus pay for the fuel. What is motivating the Commission to take on this obligation when Air Methods is already based in the county with no cost to the Tax Payers ? I think the Commissioners need to take a math course and sober up. Something really smells about this.
  • by Reality Check! Location: Taylor County on Jun 18, 2008 at 11:44 AM
    None of the "hospitals" in North Florida rural counties can afford the free helicopter rides to larger hospitals. I doubt the citizens of Gadsden County can foot the bill. It is an expensive service that everyone wants and would need, but the reality is that no one can afford the thousands of dollars it cost to be transported.
  • by Edd Location: Madison on Jun 18, 2008 at 06:34 AM
    I am a little confused because if the company is not charging the citizens for the service what is the problem.I feel that before they made the decision to accept RFPs, they should have asked the citizens what they wanted. I feel if there have not been any complaints on the service being provided, do not try to fix it. Do not make the mistake of hiring a buddy or a friend of a friend business because you will not be thinking about the residents of Gadsden county. I hope the current provider has been given the opporutnity to submit a RFP.
  • by Puzzled Location: Gadsden CO on Jun 18, 2008 at 06:29 AM
    Let me see if I have this straight. Air Medic serves Gadsden with NO cost to the county or citizens but the idiot commissioners want to seek other options????? What do they want? For Air Medic to pay THEM for each transport? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • by Toni Location: Wakulla on Jun 18, 2008 at 05:04 AM
    I think Wakulla county should do something too. My husband had a stroke in 2006 and Wakulla County EMS called Lifenet to take him to TMH. It took them over an hour to get him there. Our insurance did not cover air transport so we were billed $9700!!! How can you pay such a high bill when you are permanently disabled and your wife cannot work because she has to provide 24/7 care for you???? He had to be taken again in 2007 to TMH via Lifenet. we said NO but were ignored. Lifenet (rocky mountain holdings, inc. LLC, SE) then charged $600 more than Medicare contract paid them. We now have a second bill. WHEN WILL IT END??? nobody will listen to us either.
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