Mid Georgia Ambulance (MGA) will continue to be the ambulance service for Upson County, thanks to an amendment the company proposed making to their five year contract. County Manager Jim Wheeless announced at the Board of Commission meeting on July 14 that MGA’s parent organization, Community Health Services of Georgia, Inc. (CHSGA) proposed eliminating the $25,000 per month subsidy the county is currently paying to MGA. The board unanimously voted to accept the amendment which will go into effect beginning August 1.
MGA has been serving Upson County since January 2014, but the county commissioners were approached last month with an offer from Grady EMS to provide EMS service at a price that was a “substantial amount difference,” according to Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston. When the county awarded the contract for the ambulance service with MGA, it was for five years at $300,000 per year with no increase.
Prior to offering the amendment to the contract, CHSGa sent a letter to Wheeless outlining how the non-profit organizations under its umbrella have been good corporate citizens over the years. The letter stated CHSGa employs 136 citizens of Upson County through MGA, Riverside Health and Rehabilitation Center, Integra Rehabilitation, and Next Step Care, with an estimated annual payroll of $4.5 million. It was also noted that since the companies are non-profit, they are exempt from the payment of property taxes; however CHSGa has made the decision to continue to pay taxes on their nursing centers. They have contributed $321,263 in property taxes on Riverside Health and Rehabilitation since 1989.
In the letter, CHSGa President Ronnie Rollins stated that the company is committed to serving Upson County.
“CHSGa is committed to Upson County. Our roots are in rural Georgia. Our employees and our customers live in rural Georgia,” wrote Rollins. “We are proud of Mid Georgia Ambulance and we believe that MGA has done a good job serving Upson County.”
Rollins went on to say that CHSGa understands Upson County is experiencing financial difficulties like many other rural communities throughout the state and their mission is to provide Georgian’s direct access to health services and are committed to providing health benefits to the communities in which they serve. Therefore, CHSGa suggested amending the agreement between the organization and Upson County to eliminate the $25,000 per month subsidy paid by Upson County to MGA.
Chairman Blackston thanked CHSGa for their offer and willingness to work with the county.
“I would like to say thank you for stepping up to the plate and working with Upson County,” said Blackston. “This is a no brainer. I appreciate everything you have done and I look forward to a healthy relationship.”
Commissioner Steve Hudson added this is not news the county gets very often, which the rest of the board agreed. A motion to approve the amendment was made by Commission Ralph Ellington and seconded by Commissioner Hudson. The board unanimously approved the change with a 5-0 vote.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1