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Ga. hospital system launches new EMS company

Atrium Health Navicent Emergency Medical Services has begun operations in Baldwin County


Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center/Facebook

By Billy Hobbs
The Union-Recorder, Milledgeville, Ga.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — A new emergency medical service company has begun serving residents of Milledgeville and Baldwin County.

Atrium Health Navicent Emergency Medical Services (EMS) officially began serving the local area two weeks ago. The new EMS company, which is affiliated with Atrium Health Navicent, The Medical Center in Macon, replaces Grady EMS.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in the parking lot of Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin hospital in Milledgeville on Tuesday afternoon to welcome the new EMS company to the community.

Several officials from Atrium Health Inc. and EMS, hospital board members and members of the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners, as well as members of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce attended the event.

Luis Fonseca, president of Atrium Health Navicent hospitals in central and south Georgia and chief executive officer of Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin hospital in Milledgeville, welcomed everyone to the ceremony.

“I’m very, very happy to be here with you all today and very happy to celebrate the work that we are doing together,” Fonseca said. “When you call 911, there’s a lot of things that are happening and you’re probably in a very vulnerable spot at that moment when you’re entrusting your life and care to those emergency responders that are on the way to provide you the needed support.”

Fonseca said Atrium Health has been providing emergency medical services for more than 100 years.

“We’re very proud of that,” he said. “We’ve got a great team, and great support structure to make that happen. We’re excited to re-begin; we’ve done it before, but I will tell you that it’s a new day. We will be beginning and we’ve begun emergency medical services here in Baldwin County .”

Fonseca called it a continued demonstration of the hospital’s commitment to this community.

“We are not just about hospitals,” Fonseca said. “We’re not just about acute care. We’re here to advance the care of the entire community. And we feel very confident that with our EMS providers, we will have an opportunity to further expand that continuum of care.”

Fonseca said he especially wanted to thank the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners who have provided their trust in allowing Atrium Health Navicent EMS the opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of in ensuring that they are caring for the community, being responsive to the community, and that they are making a difference in the community.

“This is more than just the start of a new service,” Fonseca said. “It’s a continuation of the commitment and services that we provide as an organization within Atrium Health Navicent.”

Fonseca then introduced Bud Owens, who serves as executive leader of the Georgia /Alabama Markets for Atrium Health EMS.

“If it wasn’t for this individual who has spent countless hours focusing and making sure that we are providing the information necessary to help make an informed decision, but also to take action and take the steps necessary to make this happen in a very, very short window,” Fonseca said of Owens.

Owens told those in attendance that he believes within the first few days of operation with the new EMS service that they have already made a difference and that that difference would continue in the community.

He noted that John Gonzalez told him that the new ambulance service is already making an impact.

Gonzalez, who formerly worked with Grady EMS, told him this marks the first time in three years that there has been four ambulances on duty every single day. Gonzalez is now employed with Atrium Health Navicent EMS and also serves as coroner of Baldwin County.

“We’re really excited about that and we’re excited about the future,” said Owens.

Owens said paramedics and emergency medical technicians work under protocols established by the medical director, usually an emergency department physician, who is very familiar with providing emergency care.

“They follow those protocols and they work in their state scope of practice, and they are able to provide care,” Owens said. “The goal is to hopefully have that patient on the road to recovery before they ever roll through the doors of the emergency room to get additional help. That’s the goal. And that’s the way a good EMS system should work. That’s the system that we will be providing you here in Baldwin County .”

The new Atrium Health Navicent EMS has purchased five ambulances. Each one is fully equipped.

The new EMS service will employ up to 30 people. Many of those employees have worked in Milledgeville and Baldwin County with the previous ambulance service provider.

Baldwin County Commission Chairwoman Emily C. Davis also spoke.

“As you know, it’s extremely important for Baldwin County residents to have access to a quality emergency medical service,” Davis said. “I’m looking forward to continuing the working relationship between the county and Atrium Health Navicent.”

Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee also addressed the crowd.

“First of all, these are good-looking ambulances behind me,” Massee said. “But I hope none of us here today has to get in one unless we’re on some kind of tour because I don’t have any interest in that.”

The longtime sheriff said when a person dials 911 in Baldwin County, it’s usually a real emergency.

Massee then did something few sheriffs don’t do. He bragged on the members of the local county commission.

Four of them were present for the event. They included Chairwoman Davis; Commission Vice Chairman Johnny Westmoreland; and Commissioners Sammy Hall and Henry R. Craig.

“When you dial 911, they have spent a tremendous amount of money helping us get new technology and having a 911 center that is honestly state-of-the-art,” Massee said. “I know some people may think we are Mayberry, but let me tell you, we’re not. We’re so far technically advanced over communities our size that it’s literally amazing. And I’ve been extremely pleased.”

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