Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Debate Grows Over Northern Georgia Medical Helicopters

ngeorgiawar

ATLANTA -  "Probably one of the best business decisions I've ever seen a legislative body make."

That's how hospital Vice President Doug Fisher describes the deal Chattanooga's Erlanger Medical Center has made with Georgia's legislature.

The deal means $600,000 scarce Georgia taxpayer dollars would help put another of the Tennessee hospital's medical helicopters in the North Georgia mountains.

Since 30 percent of its trauma patients come out of Georgia, there's no question Erlanger helps save Georgia lives.

One of its three current helicopters is already based in Calhoun, GA at no cost to taxpayers.

But Erlanger says it needs the $600,000 government subsidy to put a second chopper in Northeast Georgia in the Rabun, Habersham County area.

11Alive News has spoken with some doctors who are part of Georgia's trauma care network who have concerns about the Erlanger deal, but none would go public with their criticism.

A private company that operates a half-dozen medical helicopters in North Georgia is openly criticizing the deal.

Air Methods says it already has adequate coverage in North Georgia.

Others complain that private Georgia helicopter operators should at least have been given the chance to bid on the new helicopter service.

The Erlanger deal had powerful political supporters in Georgia, including House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge).

Most of those live in the Northwest part of the state and praise the Tennessee trauma center's life-saving efforts there.

Georgia's State House put $600,000 for Erlanger in the budget, but the State Senate took it out.

It was saved on the final day of the session (April 29) by a six member conference committee from both bodies.

The fate of the deal is now up to Governor Sonny Perdue, who could still slash it from the 2011 state budget since he has line item veto power.

"There's probably gonna be several line items like that that will cause some controversy," said Bert Brantley, the Governor's Communications Director.

Brantley says Perdue and his staff will begin going over next year's budget by the end of this week.

"There's clearly a benefit for Georgians in this case, but it is obviously a Tennessee hospital providing that benefit, and there are potentially private providers as well," Brantley said.

"This is one that we'll probably look at very carefully," he added. "It's not one that is as clear cut as maybe some of the other ones might be."

Governor Perdue has until June 8 to sign the 2011 budget, which goes into effect July 1.
 



RELATED ARTICLES

Virginia USAR Team Mobilizes for Nepal

Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue team is on the way to quake site.

Global Rescuers Converge on Nepal

Teams and relief agencies respond to earthquake disaster.

Over 2,500 Killed in Nepal Quake

Landslides and aftershocks cause fear in survivors and hinder rescue efforts.

FERNO's New 'Proof of Concept' Ambulance has the EMS Industry Talking

You'll hear a lot more about this innovative new ambulance interior, so I will just highlight what its most impressive offerings are to me: Interchangable, c...

Washington State Signs Community Paramedicine Bill into Law

With a lot of passion and perseverance, it’s possible to change the history of EMS.

Firefighters Rescue Man Who Wedged Inside Wall to Evade Cops

A central Indiana man who hid inside a wall in his home to avoid arrest had to berescued by firefighters after he became wedged next to its chimney for ...

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers