09:49 AM. CORRECTING Information On EMS Funding in Henry CountyRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Jan 09 2023 9:53 AM
HENRY COUNTY - HEADLAND - ABBEVILLE:
HENRY COUNTY EMS
HENRY COUNTY: Henry County has three EMS providers: Abbeville EMS, Headland EMS, and Haleburg EMS.
Headland is a part of the City of Headland. The overall management comes under Headland Director of Public Safety, Mark Jones.
Abbeville is a non profit, 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) corporation. The City of Abbeville pays two people who are employees of the City of Abbeville.
Haleburg Rescue is a non profit, 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) corporation. Haleburg EMS is a 100% volunteer corporation.
Recently RSN did an interview with Henry County Commission Chairman David Money, Henry County Commissioner Jason Hudspeth, and Henry County Administrator Ronnie Dollar.
A recent article RSN published Henry County Commission Chairman David Money text me that some information was wrong. Chairman Money said that I needed to listen tot he interview recently conducted and correct the mistakes.
THE RECENT INTERVIEW
The recent interview began with Henry County Administrator Ronnie Dollar. As he began Dollar told Chairman Money and Commissioner Hudspeth to correct him if he said anything wrong or left anything out. Dollar said the purpose of the interview was to correct information that was not correct, misleading information. The purpose was not to debate but to make sure the people had the correct information.
Dollar told Stokes that he was right when writing there was an issue with EMS in Henry County. Dollar said Headland had a quality EMS service and Abbeville “sometimes” does. Dollar said that is not knocking anyone, just being honest. Dollar said there is one ( 1 ) ambulance in Abbeville and are times when there is no one to respond. If Abbeville is in Dothan and Headland has to respond to Shorterville or the lake, Dollar said that is not appropriate. And the Henry County Commission and Administrator gets that. Dollar said he has fought to get that corrected.
Dollar said this started in the May meeting of the Henry County Commission. A group was meeting to try and figure how to correct something. The meeting, described by Dollar, went this way and that way and nothing got settled.
Dollar went and spoke with Abbeville Mayor Jimmy Money and Abbeville City Clerk Melissa. In that conversation, Abbeville has three (3) ambulances with only one ( 1 ) in operation. The Abbeville Mayor and City Clerk came up with a figure of $ 350,000.00 to staff an additional ambulance to primarily respond into the county.
Dollar said nothing was intended to take away from Headland but the goal and intent was to get a second ambulance in Abbeville. Dollar said this was the fastest way he knew to get Abbeville fixed. The sole purpose of this funding being placed on the agenda back in May 2022, the sole purpose, was to get EMS in the north end of Henry County, outside the city limits of Abbeville. It was not to take away from Headland, who has a functioning and well run EMS that covers Headland and outside the city limits of Headland.
When the item was placed on the agenda Headland had opposition. Dollar admitted they probably did not do a good enough job informing where they were headed and the purpose. So the funding issue was tabled that day. The committee decided to go back to the table and discuss.
Dollar said the RSN article stated there was an agreement. Dollar said there is no agreement made or signed. The Henry County commission has never voted to fund anything to EMS. Dollar Said “ you want the truth. They never have”. Dollar went on to say the committee talked and they have never seemed to come up with anything. Dollar called Commissioner Jason Hudspeth and said let’s go to Abbeville and Headland get what it is costing them for a second crew. Abbeville was going to get the numbers and in Headland, Mayor Ray Marler and Heather, they came up with numbers pretty fast.
As talks went further Abbeville was unsure who Henry County needed to talk to and negotiate with. The City of Abbeville pays the salary of one ( 1 ) or two ( 2 ) and the Abbeville EMS, a separate entity from Abbeville, pays some. Dollar asks, “ who do we contract with?”.
If spending ARPA money the federal government has strict guidelines on the money. Those in power are responsible and even responsible after they leave office. The Henry County Commission wants a binding agreement.
Dollar said the City of Abbeville has had some called meetings. No decisions were made. Then Henry County heard Abbeville did not want the county involved. Then Judge Money heard Abbeville was negotiating with an out of state EMS provider. Until then Dollar had never heard of the EMS provider, AMERIPRO and that was only after he asked the City Clerk in Abbeville, which confirmed that Abbeville has talked with AMERIPRO. It was after then that Dollar learned Commissioner Jason Hudspeth worked some with AMERIPRO but in later conversations with Commissioner Hudspeth he was not aware of the negotiations and Commissioner Hudspeth has not been in any negotiations.
Dollar said the goal and purpose of his and the Henry County Commission was to provide quality EMS to the people who deserve it. Dollar said at times it takes 30 minutes for EMS to arrive at a patient and that is unacceptable and he and the Commission have been working to solve that. Dollar said they are ashamed that they do not already have that fixed.
Dollar said the bites from RSN “does absolutely nothing” Dollar said he has taken a lead role in this. The State of Alabama is spending millions to get rural broadband but yet they can not get an ambulance to a child choking in the county.
Dollar said they are waiting on the City of Abbeville. He said the Henry County Commission would vote on the funding today and/or call a special meeting for the funding appropriations if agreements were in place.
Henry County Probate Judge/Henry County Commission Chairman David Money said the original intent of it being placed in the agenda in May 2022 was to solve an immediate problem. Money said when he was elected one of his goals was to work toward unifying Henry County as a whole. There has been a decade issue between Headland and Abbeville and he has worked to be real careful to work to unify Abbeville and Headland.
Money said Headland has a outstanding EMS. Abbeville once had an outstanding EMS and when he served as Mayor it was all volunteer but today people do not volunteer. The HENRY County Commission will obligate $ 500,000 to $ 700,000 paid in quarterly installments or whatever is decided on by the commission. Money pointed out the Chairman does not get to vote unless a tie so the decision will be made by the commission.
Money said they are in a holding pattern until he City of Abbeville and Abbeville Rescue makes a decision. Money said he was going to ask the county attorney, Spence Danzey, to draft an agreement with Henry County and Headland and Henry County and Abbeville that spells out what is expected through the end of 2024.
Money’s term ends the end of 2024 and he does not feel that he needs to obligate Henry County past when he leaves office. Money does not think that is fair to a incoming Commission Chairman and Commission. Money said he feels a new Chairman would want to fund it but he does not feel he needs to obligate past then.
Money said this is a high priority.
On January 10, 2023 RSN stated the Henry County Commission was going to fund Headland with $ 350,000.00. Judge Money asked me to listen to the recording again. And in Judge Money’s defense there was no definitive figure amount and he said “quarterly payments” or however the commission votes to fund it.
The figure of $ 350,000.00 is what Henry County Administrator Ronnie Dollar stated had been said by Abbeville and Headland. But no definitive agreement of a figure has been decided.
The figure $ 350,000.00 is what Headland and Abbeville said would be required to fund the EMS.
RSN wants the information provided to be accurate. Dollar said the RSN bites does absolutely nothing. RSN disagrees in I see myself as a kicker, like a football kicker. If RSN did not kick then you, the registered voter, would not know what is happening. This issue was on the agenda in May 2022. Now 8 ( eight ) months later nothing has been funded, Abbeville has no plan. Headland has a plan and has been operating.
If Abbeville does not reach a decision then Henry County Commission should make an immediate determination that Headland needs to present a plan to provide EMS coverage county wide. With Headland placing ambulances in areas of HENRY County for rapid response. Lives depend on it.
In 8 months a decision and plan should have already been executed. And while Abbeville has not reached a decision, someone has to not worry about what toes they step on and get EMS coverage rolling, like yesterday.
Recently a Henry County Commissioner in the north end of Henry County, his wife had to place him in the car and drive to meet Headland EMS. Recently Haleburg and Headland responded to a business in the city limits of Abbeville because no ambulance available in Abbeville. The patient died. RSN CAN NOT AND IS NOT SAYING that EMS could have saved the man, but what we can say is no Abbeville ambulance was available so Haleburg and Headland had to respond.
Judge Money and Administrator Dollar, thank you for correcting the information of which RSN misunderstood.
Also the EMA Director is Matt Hatcher. Some think he has provided me information and that is not true. But I know Matt. Henry County is sitting with a qualified, damn good, Paramedic, that is in Abbeville most days or in and around the county. They need to equip Matt and have him dispatched to EMS calls in the north end of Henry County while someone is bringing the ambulance or advanced EMS is required.
A great asset in Henry County for quality EMS.