AirMethods clarifies contract for county council
Hampton County Council’s chamber was filled to capacity Monday night as council heard from several individuals and business representatives during a lengthy meeting.
Council obtained some clarity during regular session about a recent contractual partnership with medical aviation service provider, AirMethods.
Recently, county council learned an AirMethods competitor was advertising similar service contracts for future services [in case of an emergency requiring medical flight] to Hampton County residents, causing confusion by multiple council members of the contract the county recently entered with AirMethods. Council asked representatives with the company to attend the Oct. 16 meeting to clarify several council members’ ideas that AirMethods would cover fees stemming from all helicopter medical transport within the county, even if provided by a competitor of AirMethods.
Anna McCollum, AirMethods LifeNet SC Regional Business Manager, and Area Manager George Morris spoke to council and answered questions. The two reaffirmed the terms of the contract with the county, which were also outlined and presented to council before the contract was voted upon. All Hampton County residents will fly at no charge, whether they have medical insurance or not, if flown by an AirMethods LifeNet helicopter for the remainder of the 12-month $50,000 contract. Since the signing in of the contract, 20 residents have been flown by LifeNet 4, say county EMS officials and AirMethods representatives.
In the rare instance that multiple nearby AirMethods helicopters would be preoccupied with separate calls and a competitor would be called for transport, county residents would not reap the benefits of council’s purchase of a year of free transport.
“You guys are fortunate to be surrounded by our aircraft,” said McCollum. “I will tell you with our competitor’s memberships, they would do it the same way. If you had their membership and we came to fly you, they would not honor us either.”
“I do want the citizens to know that since Hampton [County] has taken membership…there have been other counties that have followed suit,” said Council Chair Roy Hollingsworth. “They are doing the same agreement we are. It is still a good thing that we did.”
Company representatives state they wish for no misunderstanding of their services and will work with local media outlets to inform citizens of their services.
“I suppose I just never thought about it [possibility of a competitor flying a resident]…I just think that in the future it should be brought up sooner,” said Councilman Charles “Buddy” Phillips. “I still think that it is one of best decisions Hampton County has ever made.”
“I think that we were all under the same impression,” said council member Isaac Smith of council’s belief AirMethods would pay for a competitor to fly a Hampton County resident to the hospital. Not only illegal, say AirMethods representatives, the act would impossible due to billing procedures and questions of service, or lack thereof, if flown by a competing company.
“I would like to say that, ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. There are 20 residents of this county that have been transported since we have been here. All of them matter, but it only took one trip to really matter and to reinforce the decision of the council. I am very proud to be a part of that,” said AirMethods’ Morris.
Heather Bruemmer, representing the Estill Fall Festival Committee, came before council and asked for the town’s annual festival to be adopted as an official fair of Hampton County. Estill Fall Fest officials would like to host a mayor’s bingo event to raise money for various uses, which would require an “official Hampton County Fair” designation.
The fair would not be the “official” fair of Hampton County but would be classified as “an official fair of Hampton County.”
“We have rebranded our Fall Festival parade as the ‘Estill Fall Festival Parade of Churches and Cultures,’” said Bruemmer. “It is the ‘Parade of Churches and Cultures’ because Estill is growing and it is a little more diverse and we have some communities that have been underrepresented in the past. We have some Asian families, we have a growing Hispanic community and we have some Indian families that have moved into town. We want them to know that this festival is for everybody and we want everybody’s culture to be represented,” Bruemmer told council.
In other county council meeting news:
- Council passed first reading of an ordinance to amend the Hampton County Unified Land Development Ordinance. Randy Crews presented council with information about the ordinance amendment, which would increase restrictions placed on landfill companies attempting to operate in the county.
- Council member Shedron Williams gave a PowerPoint presentation which showed several photographs of damage at multiple Hampton County senior citizen centers. The photos showcased potholes in parking/drop-off areas, as well as leaking drinking fountains and peeling corner moldings.
- County Council named multiple individuals to the Hampton County Airport Commission.
CARE Team to host Bingo event
The Hampton County C.A.R.E. Team, in conjunction with the Hampton County Coroner’s Office, was organized and approved by the Secretary of State for South Carolina as a 501(c)3 Non Profit Corporation. The mission of the C.A.R.E. Tem is to assist the Hampton County Coroner in the areas of: Community Involvement; Awareness in an effort to prevent injuries and deaths as it pertains to health and safety issues; Response to catastrophes and Educating our community on issues related to health, safety and career development.
The C.A.R.E. Team will be hosting an evening of bingo at the Pruitt-Health Nursing Home in Estill. This event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. Our desire is to provide a social outlet of fun and prizes to the residents, while at the same time letting them know that we care.
We are asking you, the community, to assist us with donations for the bingo party. All donations are tax deductible and may be forwarded to the Hampton County Coroner’s Office, 703 2nd St. W., Hampton, S.C.