Ambulance wait times are a huge talking point at the Chatham Co legislative luncheon.

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) – Chatham County commissioners have met with state lawmakers to find solutions to several community issues, including long ambulance wait times. A problem that people in Chatham County and across Georgia have been feeling for the past few years.

Over lunch, Chatham County Commissioner Aaron Whitely, who also sits on the Chatham Emergency Services Board, made suggestions to lawmakers in the State House and Senate on how they could solve the problem of emergency vehicles stuck in hospitals, delaying the intervention of ambulances. time.

Wall time is the length of time an ambulance is in a hospital waiting to transfer a patient to hospital care. Over lunch, Chatham Emergency Management Agency director Dennis Jones said the ideal wait time was 15 to 30 minutes. For the past two years, ambulances from Chatham Emergency Services have waited 1-2 hours in hospitals.

“We’ve had more than four or five vehicles at our hospitals at times and unable to respond to calls,” Whitely said.

The staffing issues listed in white are part of the Chatham Hospitals and Emergency Services problem. He asked lawmakers during the discussion to consider reimbursing Chatham Emergency Services for ambulance visits for Medicare patients that do not result in being transported to hospital. This way they generate more money to hire more staff.

“I’m just trying to find ways to reduce the overhead of our ambulance services until they can free up some cash or capital to pay more paramedics.”

State Sen. Derek Mallow said lawmakers are working with hospitals on this issue.

“We will have to work with the general assembly to resolve this problem. We know this is a major problem,” Senator Mallow said.

He hopes expanding Medicaid services could also help reduce wait times.

“We know expanding Medicaid is part of that and could ease some of the burden. It won’t solve all of that, but it will help us move forward as we look at who might get routine preventive care to reduce those who need emergency services,” Senator Mallow said.

Lawmakers will introduce the new laws they want to pass during the January legislative session.

Jessica C. Bell