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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal by clicking here. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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BREAKING NEWS: Grady Ambulance Proposes Changes to Their Contract
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - Yesterday, Pike County Times learned that Grady Ambulance would be a topic of discussion during Tuesday night's regularly scheduled Board of Commissioner's meeting. Upon review of the proposed contract, Pike County Times learned that Grady Ambulance proposes to change the yearly required amount, change location of housing for its Zebulon ambulance (and possibly the Molena ambulance since Concord is listed specifically on the contract), and introduce a clause that there will be an annual review by March 15 of each following year "to determine proposed changes in the Annual Fee for budgeting purposes."

Pike County Times has attended many ambulance contract negotiations and votes over the past twenty years. To understand where we are today, one must read a little bit of history to know how we got to this point in our county.


[Note from the Editor: This following is parts of last year's article where Grady gave the county 60 days notice that it was going to terminate its contract for ambulance service with us but ended up amending the contract and adding $50,000 to it instead. You can read the letter and these two articles cited below in their entirety by clicking here.]

The current contract was first signed on June 30, 2015. You can read more in depth of the awarding of this contact in the article “Pike County Awards Ambulance Contract to Grady EMS” by clicking here. You can also read about the opening of the sealed bids on May 13, 2015 by clicking here. And there is a lot of detail from the ambulance providers in the article about the Special Called Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 that you can read by clicking here.

The story at that time was that Mid Georgia Ambulance had held the ambulance contract with Pike County for eight years, and Pike County decided to put out bids to the ambulance community to see if it could get service for less than $395,000 per year. The county received three bids from Mid Georgia Ambulance, Spalding Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and Grady Emergency Medical Service. Mid Georgia bid $370,000 per year with options for 1, 3 and 5 year contracts, Spalding EMS bid $350,000 per year for a 3 year contract only, and Grady EMS bid $275,000 with 1, 3, and 5 year renewable contracts with a specification that they would hire anyone from Mid Georgia who met their requirements and all current Mid Georgia employees would keep their pay, benefits, and seniority.

In a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Tommy Powers and Tim Daniel opposed, the majority of the county commission chose to go with Grady EMS because they were the low bidder. The agreement was for a 1 year contract renewable for 5 years that would end on June 30, 2020. The service would provide paramedic and state certified personnel to staff and serve on two ambulances that would be housed inside of Pike County on a 24 hour a day/7 days a week/365 days per year basis with an additional ambulance that would be in Pike County Monday through Friday for 12 hours per day.

In 2017, Grady EMS asked for and received a reduction in the ambulance contract. Grady EMS asked the county amend the contract to include only the two full-time ambulances on a 24 hour/7 days a week/365 days per year basis and one back up ambulance as needed with a reduction in Pike County’s fee from $275,000 to $250,000. This eliminated the permanent 12 hour ambulance that had been a part of the original contract. It was stated in the contract that Grady EMS would “utilize its regional resources and mutual aid agreements for exceptional demand requirements.” The contract then continued until June 30, 2020.

Commissioners had been asked once again to amend and reduce the contract in the most recent Board of Commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Two 24/7 ambulances is what was currently in the contract. The reductions from the two full-time ambulances that Pike County was now being provided were as follows:

•1-24/7 ALS Transport Ambulance and 1-12/7 ALS Transport Ambulance Peak times are defined as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Subsidy: $250,000

•1-24/7 ALS Transport Ambulance, 1-12/7 ALS Transport Ambulance and 1-12/7 Quick Response Vehicle (QRV). The QRV would be on duty at night when the 12 transport hour unit is off duty.
Subsidy: $350,000

•2-24/7 ALS Transport Ambulances
Subsidy: $500,000


Grady EMS provides a monthly list of calls for each month to the county as well as response times. There were 171 total 911 calls received for last month with 169 the previous month. The year to date total is 523. According to last month’s documentation, Grady EMS response times for life threatening emergency calls was 9.4 minutes and non-emergency calls was 10.2 minutes.

CM Bickley recommended that commissioners choose option 1. He said that over the past 18 months during non-peak times, there have been 24 instances with a need for a second ambulance within the same hour.


Grady EMS provided an average of call demands for Pike County from January 1, 2019 to March 10, 2019. According to this document, there was an average of 5.2 calls per day on Sundays, 5.5 on Mondays, 5.4 on Tuesdays, 5.1 on Wednesdays, 4.9 on Thursdays, 5.5 on Fridays, and 5.1 on Saturdays.

The summary of call response times from January 1, 2019 to March 31, 2019 is as follows. There were 360 Priority 1 calls (defined as a life threatening emergency) with an average response time of 10.2 minutes. There were 107 Priority 3 calls (defined as non-emergency) with an average response time of 10.0 minutes. Both averages are under the 12 minute response time that has been mentioned more than once in meetings. [End of copy and past from this article.]

According to the article from May of 2019 that is at the top of the two articles linked to this page, Pike County Times interviewed then County Manager Bobby Bickley and was advised as follows: "County Manager Bobby Bickley advised today that Grady has agreed to provide two (2) 24 hour/7 day a week ambulances for Pike County for $300,000 per year. This is $50,000 more than our current contract that was supposed to end in 2020. Pike County agreed to add two years onto the current ambulance contract which extends Grady's time here in Pike County through 2022. Bickley advised that both parties agreed that there would be no further negotiations through 2022 pending a final commission vote on this amended contract."

County Manager Bobby Bickley is no longer the county manager, and Pike County is being asked to revise the contract once again. It almost went out to bid last year because of the termination letter that was given to the county, but negotiations brought an agreement and a majority of the commissioners voted to continue with Grady for the new amount.

The Current Proposal

According to page 4 of the proposed contract, Grady EMS is asking for $375,000 as its annual fee for two (2) fully operational emergency ambulance units dedicated for specific use for the County and one (1) additional backup ambulance. The 2019 contract was signed for $300,000.

According to page 3 of the proposed contract, Grady EMS is requiring the County to provide housing and facilities (a place for the ambulance and crews to stay when they are not on a call) at EMS Station #7 Zebulon [Note from the Editor: I think this is a typo that needs to be corrected on the contract because they have Station #1 on the contract, but I've been advised that they are wanting to be in the Zebulon City Hall facility.] located at 7818 US HIghway 19 and EMS Station #2 Concord which is located at 4042 Concord Road in Concord. [Note from the Editor: I did not ask if they would be staying in the Molena station where they have been paying rent but assume that they will no longer be paying rent there or at their current location down below Dairy Queen in town. I will update this note if I find that this is incorrect.] Grady will pay for utilities.

And according to page 4 of the contract in section IV b, the county and Grady will review current and prorated call volumes no later than March 15 of each year "to determine proposed changes in the Annual Fee for budgeting purposes." Section c does advise that Grady will present options for possibly lowering the amount that we pay as a county if it is successful in adding surrounding counties in our region.

Please review these contracts in their entirety by clicking on the following links:
pikecountytimes.com/secondary/GradyContract2017.pdf [Note from the Editor: Please note that this contract was amended from 2015 and signed on 2017 so it shows the original annual amount of $275,000 that was reduced to $250,000.]
pikecountytimes.com/secondary/GradyContract2019.pdf [Note from the Editor: This is for $300,000 per year.]
pikecountytimes.com/secondary/GradyContract2020.pdf [Note from the Editor: This is for $375,000 per year with a required annual review for budgeting purposes in March of each year.]

Where Do We Go From Here?

Grady's proposed contract will be on the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will include a check for sickness and strict social distancing requirements because the Governor's Shelter in Place order are still effect until the end of the month.

Only 17 (I think this is right?!) people will be allowed into the seated part of the courtroom because of the spacing requirements though there may be a way to space efficiently with social distancing, speak during the 15 minute town hall meeting, and then wait outside until the meeting is complete.

Pike County Times will be attending this meeting in person.

If you would like to voice your support or disapproval of this proposal without actually going to the meeting, please send an email to County Clerk Angela Blount at ablount@pikecoga.com so she can forward your throughts to the commissioners and the county manager.

You can also schedule to drop off a hand written letter to the County Clerk at the County Commission Office or ask for contact information for your commissioner by calling 770-567-3406.

Feel free to let them know where you obtained your information. Pike County Times is monitoring the audit and budget closely as well. [Note to the Editor: Many thanks to County Clerk Angela Blount for filling my request for information so quickly.]

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