When Every Second Counts.org (The Actual Athens-Clarke County EMS Oversight Committee)

When Every Second Counts is a bipartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to improving transparency and performance in our emergency medical services. If your child, or a member of your family is having a time sensitive, life threatening emergency, you need to be assured that the 911 ambulance designated to cover your neighborhood would not have been pulled to run a non-emergency transport. You also need to be assured that the ambulance that responds is staffed by at least one Paramedic. Regrettably, this is not the case in our communities.

When is it a good time to remove a taxpayer subsidized 911 ambulance from your neighborhood to run a non-emergency transport home from the hospital? From a public safety perspective, the answer is never! In our community it happens all the time, as it is a part of the accepted business model of our ambulance provider. When is it a good idea to run a time sensitive, life-threatening, medical emergency without a Paramedic. The answer again is, it’s never ok! There has been a marked increase of 911 ambulances in Athens-Clarke, Oconee, and Morgan Counties that are staffed only with EMT’s, as it too is part of the accepted business practice of our ambulance provider. However, when your loved one is experiencing a time sensitive, life threatening emergency, Paramedics matter, ambulance delays are unacceptable, and EVERY SECOND COUNTS! Read more about our situation in Clarke, Oconee and Morgan counties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q – “Our public safety Emergency Medical Service (EMS) is provided by our local fire department isn’t it?”

A – No. We have a private equity, for-profit, “public safety” provider called National EMS. National EMS is owned by an out of state private equity firm called Priority EMS, which has corporate offices in Arizona.

Q – “The ambulance will get there quickly when I call 911, right?”

A – Not necessarily. In a four year period, over 31,000 EMS calls experienced delays (exceeded the response time standard of 8 minutes and 59 seconds).

Q – “Do emergency medical service (EMS) response times matter? Can Paramedics make a difference?”

A – There are many time sensitive, life threatening emergencies where a timely response by an ambulance staffed with a Paramedic can mean the difference between life and death. Other times it can mean the difference between a healthy future and one full of impairment due to an extended period of oxygen, or medication, deprivation to the brain or heart. Paramedics are by far the highest trained pre-hospital provider and can perform many life-saving procedures and administer many life saving medications that EMT’s cannot.

Q – “If me or a member of my family experienced a time sensitive, life threatening emergency, can Priority National EMS assure me that the ambulance designated to cover our neighborhood will not have been pulled to run a non-emergency transport?”

A – No, their business model is to routinely pull their 911 ambulances from their state designated coverage zones to run non-emergency transports.

Q – “Do these non-emergency transports have to be run with 911 ambulances or are there non-emergency ambulance companies that could do that?”

A – Absolutely. There are several non-emergency transport companies in Athens-Clarke County. 

Q – “Does this critical area of public safety have an oversight committee?”

A – Yes. Shockingly, the EMS Oversight Committee meetings are not announced and are not open to the public. They have met in violation of the State Open Meetings laws for many years.

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