The previous dispatch communications agreement expired more than a year ago, and the county has been passing continuing resolutions to continue the service during negotiations with the hospital which have centered on whether the hospital should continue to pay, as was agreed to when the Hospital Authority sold the hospital and per that sale applies to any future owners of the hospital.
The new agreement, effective for five years beginning July 1, 2012, includes dispatch fees, monthly usage fees for the radio equipment and repayment to the county for the radio equipment used by the hospital’s emergency medical services or EMS department. The new rate, which County Manager William Wilson Jr. said was about $5,000 less than current contract, is based on call volume, projected operating deficit each year, the 25 radios issued and $16 per unit, per month user fee.
There’s also the value of the equipment, which was purchased with special purpose local option sales tax funds. The equipment is valued at $109,765.12 amortized over 10 years, Wilson said.
The operating deficit, Wilson explained is the cost to operate the 911 center beyond what is collected in telephone and cell phone fees. That, he said, is expected to increase each year about $10,000 a year.
Call volume at the 911 center for the hospital is about 10.15 percent of all calls that come in, so the hospital is charged for 10.15 percent of the operating deficit. Other agencies, including the city of Griffin’s police and fire departments, are also charged at a percentage of calls, which by the contracts, the county is required to maintain and provide monthly.
The estimated cost of the contract over the five years to the hospital is estimated at $380,786.38. For that, the Spalding Regional Medical Center or Tenet HealthSystem Spalding, gets to be the exclusive EMS provider in the county.
Payments are due quarterly with the first payment of the new contract due to the county on Sept. 30.