Faith EMS objects to rescue bid

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2003

The City of Andalusia recently unveiled and approved a bid proposal to account for services designated as emergency services for ambulance services in the city.

And the owner of one of those services says he does not feel the bid proposal is a fair one, and says the proposal does not take into account the best interests of citizens of Andalusia.

Faith EMS owner Doug Tisdale said he does not feel the proposal conforms to federal law involving emergency service.

This is why Tisdale said he recently hired an attorney and is prepared to take legal action if an agreement is not reached which he feels is fair for all parties concerned.

Tisdale said the city has delayed a bid opening for those emergency services and that City Attorney Tom Albritton is currently looking into his concerns about the proposal.

Mike Jones of the city's EMS Committee recently stated that much of the proposal was taken from a similar policy by the Town of Ozark, but Tisdale said Andalusia's proposal differs greatly from many proposals he has seen from various cities in the state.

"There were some paragraphs taken verbatim from some of the ordinances (the city) reviewed, but I have called as many cities as I can, and I have not found one city in Alabama that requires anything that is required in this proposal," said Tisdale. "I knew once I got the proposal, that the requirements of this proposal were very odd and very unique. I wanted to make sure that due to the uniqueness (of the requirements) it was legal and lawful to do these things."

Tisdale said he feels the proposal gives the police department unreasonable authority over ambulance service but added that his main concern is whether the requirements of the proposal are legal according to federal law.

"(Many of the requirements) put the police in charge of the ambulance business," said Tisdale. "It is telling us that when a police officer says you need to help this citizen for free, that we are required to do that. We can't be required to do that, and it is odd that a police department would be able to tell an ambulance service how to run their business or to make decisions for the ambulance service, and that is what it amounts to."

Tisdale said he also still objects to what he terms as the city trying to dictate that citizens should have only one choice of emergency service when the two-service situation that has existed in the city since January has worked successfully in his view, adding that he continues to receive many positive comments from people all over Covington County regarding the healthy competition currently in place.

Tisdale said it is obvious in his opinion that the requirements in the proposal were geared toward the services which the Andalusia Rescue Service has always provided.

"I think (the proposal) is geared toward the city not wanting any competition in the ambulance business in Andalusia and (the requirements) involve exactly those services which have been provided by the other service," said Tisdale. "I think those are good services which are beneficial to the community, but I don't think that you can require an ambulance service to go to a driver's license checkpoint and set up emergency lighting. Why does that have anything to do with an ambulance?"

He added that many of the requirements in the proposal do not even involve emergency medical patient care, including working with the fire department, police department and E-911 board for further training, providing critical care transport when dispatched by the Andalusia Police Department, providing coverage for football games and providing free blood pressure and blood sugar checks.

Tisdale said he has no animosity toward the city or the Andalusia Rescue Service, and said he has even noticed a much greater relationship between members of his staff and the staff of the Andalusia Rescue Squad over the past several weeks.

He said he also does not feel the city is acting with any ill will toward his agency, but said some members of the city may not be well educated in terms of federal emergency related law.

Tisdale said he is confident that a proper decision will be made by the city once Albritton has had a chance to review the proposal carefully.