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County Council pushes back final vote on EMS plan

DSC_2698Despite a wealth of criticism Monday from a minority of York County Council and the county’s volunteer rescue squads, efforts to iron out a new EMS contract between the squads and Piedmont Medical Center appear to be moving forward.

Council Monday approved the second reading of a contract that amends the county’s agreement with Piedmont to include the dispatching of River Hills, Lake Wylie and Fort Mill ambulances as a part of an overall dispatch plan.

But a visibly frustrated council chairman Britt Blackwell said Monday there is a lot of misinformation coming from critics seeking to derail a compromise.

“There’s still a lot of compassionate concern by the citizens, there’s still a lot of compassion by the councilmen,” Blackwell said. “I’m sure the public hearing will not be wasted.

The new agreement, which has been in the works for nearly a year, seeks to end the dangerous practice of dispatching more than one ambulance to a single call, while incorporating the resources of rescue squads, who were chartered to serve their local areas.

Councilman Bruce Henderson, one of two ‘no’ votes Monday, said the contract is still not acceptable.

“When it comes to public safety standards, we are at the wheel,” Henderson said. “This will have a direct effect, in a negative way, on volunteers and volunteerism.”

Following executive session Monday, council decided to postpone a public hearing until early November.

A third and final reading is expected to take place in a subsequent meeting.

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