By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The finer points of an agreement between county healthcare officials and a Summerdale-headquartered emergency medical services provider are still being worked out, but there is no doubt a new ambulance service will soon be operating in and around Atmore.
“We are targeting September 1 as the date for transition to ground service from ASAP to Medstar,” said Jeff Booth, Escambia County Health Care Authority’s (ECHCA) chief operating officer.
ECHCA officials announced July 23 that the authority had reached an agreement with Medstar Emergency Medical Services to provide comprehensive, around-the-clock ground ambulance coverage for Atmore and the surrounding area.
The agreement with the private ambulance company came after months of complaints from county residents, police and firefighters about the poor response times turned in by ASAP EMS, which began operations here more than three years ago and eventually bought out its only competition, Atmore Ambulance Service.
According to an ECHCA press release issued recently, healthcare officials had been “working with ASAP” to iron out its problems, but “has chosen to expand its existing relationship with Medstar to include the Atmore market.”
The emergency response plan also includes the assumption D.W. McMillan EMS will assume responsibility for providing ground ambulance service in the Flomaton area, officials said, noting that the move will enhance ECHCA’s ability to serve the eastern half of the county.
Among the details not yet revealed are the location from which the Medstar ground ambulances will operate. Unconfirmed reports are that they will be parked at or near Atmore Fire Department’s headquarters and at AFD’s Pensacola Avenue station.