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County awards EMS bid

The Cumberland Board of Supervisors awarded a one-year contract to its current emergency medical service (EMS) provider during its June 13 during its meeting.

Vivian Giles

Emergency Services Solutions (ESS) was selected by the board among one of four firms that submitted bids.

The contract, which will begin July 1, comes with a price tag of $446,760, according to County Administrator and County Attorney Vivian Seay Giles.

ESS currently has 70 employees and was fully compliant in the request for proposals issued in May by the county seeking bids for an EMS provider.

ESS will provide two rescue personnel to serve the county, responding to emergencies. They’ll be on call 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, Giles said.

ESS, established in 2001 and based in Powhatan, provides paid EMS staff to contracted entities.

ESS was not the lowest bidder. Emergency Service Management (ESM) LLC submitted a year-one bid of $394,200.

Regarding ESM, county officials cited concerns regarding the organization’s “ability to provide the level of service expected and the required insurance” due to the company being recently established in September and having only been contracted by Pamplin City.

Lifecare Medical Transport and Delta Response Team offered year-one bids of $488,107 and $525,600 respectively.

Lifecare was cited as having excellent references and being an award-winning company, and Delta was cited as having good references. Both were listed as having “technical noncompliance relating to references and bid submission procedure,” according to county officials.

Giles said ESS’ reputation and its service to Cumberland made it the EMS staffing service of choice for the board.

“A one-year contract was approved with ESS, the current service provider,” Giles said, “based in large part on the length of time the company has been in business, the company’s reputation and the proven quality of care they are able to provide to Cumberland County citizens.”

ESS began providing staff assistance to the Cumberland Volunteer Rescue Squad (CVRS) in October after the CVRS became an agency of the county.

The partnership allowed CVRS to pay off debt on its building and supplement a dwindling core volunteer base.

County EMS and Fire Chief Tom Perry said during an October board of supervisors’ meeting that the squad had been able to answer all 25 of the calls it received since ESS began its services for the county at the beginning of October.

“Beginning Oct. 1, as you are aware, we provided 24/7 coverage of the CVRS with a paid crew from Emergency Services Solutions,” Perry said. “(I’m) happy to report that, as of today, there have been 25 calls for service in that … period and we have 100 percent success rate as far as answering the calls. No calls have been missed anywhere in Cumberland or in the Cartersville area.”

District Three Representative Kevin Ingle responded during the October meeting and said the transition would benefit the county in addition to its volunteers.

“By expanding their coverage times …, we were able to accomplish that 100 percent,” Ingle said. “It’s also an asset to the other two agencies, Cartersville Rescue Squad and Prince Edward (Volunteer Rescue Squad), to be able to have this type of resource as a mutual aid. And we look forward to working with all three agencies to try to optimize the coverage for Cumberland County.”

The transition as a county agency sparked concern with members of the Cartersville Volunteer Rescue Squad, who spoke during a board meeting in December, citing concerns regarding billing to users of the services in the coverage area and it being unclear whether the bills were meant for users’ insurance companies or the individuals.