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Changes could be coming to ambulance service in Athens-Clarke County

Commissioners are set to talk about emergency medical services in Athens-Clarke County at a meeting tonight.

EMS service in Athens has been criticized in recent years for what some say are slow response times and a lack of accountability to the community.

Now, ACC commissioners are set to consider changes to the agreement that governs ambulance service. Under the terms of a proposed new agreement, an oversight committee that has met only sporadically in recent years will be disbanded. Instead, the ACC Mayor and Commission will get quarterly performance reports as well as semi-annual presentations on a number of key performance metrics. Those metrics include the average number of units available, how many of those units provide advanced life support, and the average response time.

Ambulance service in the county is provided by National EMS, which is contracted by the two area hospitals, Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital. The Athens-Clarke and Oconee County governments also contribute $100,000 a year to fund the service.

ACC commissioners are expected to discuss the new agreement tonight in advance of a vote in early June.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.