Fire chief expresses Acadian concerns
Dist. 11 Fire Chief Clarence Clark asked the St. Mary Parish Council for help with ambulance service response times Wednesday.
Clark said difficulties with Acadian Ambulance Service have caused his department problems in far west St. Mary.
“I would like the parish to look into the contract with Acadian,” he said. “I’m not sure there is a contract, I know some parishes do have one. Iberia Parish has a contract that gives Acadian a certain amount of time to arrive in certain areas. On top of that, Acadian provides EMR classes for the parish for fire departments for free.”
Clark cited an example where his department was dispatched for a cardiac emergency. He said Acadian never arrived, and he transported the victim himself to Franklin Foundation Hospital. The victim died.
He cited other examples of what he considered long response times.
In one incident, Clark said he requested two Acadian AirMed services, and said he was told “AirMed would not be en route and the nearest ground unit was in Morgan City and would be coming to me from Morgan City. There is a station in Franklin and New Iberia, however if I am to be held accountable to provide a service that I am accountable for, this parish should hold Acadian Ambulance accountable. A round trip from Four Corners to Iberia Medical Center could come up to $12,000, and AirMed could be $25,000.”
Councilman Craig Mathews said he wanted an Acadian representative to appear before the council to explain these issues. He said he’d also be curious to see the profits of the company in the parish.
Parish President David Hanagriff said the administration would contact Acadian and ask for a representative to attend a parish council meeting.
“We’re talking about a multi-million dollar agency that in my opinion has been monopolizing the Acadiana community for far too long,” Mathews said. “A monopoly has been created so that other transport companies that are trying to evolve to compete with this nonsense have been shut out because of political clout and influence from our legislators. It is time for it to stop.
“I can personally account for the number of citizens in Dist. 1 who have lost their lives because of this…I want them at that podium,” he demanded.
Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange said there is a parish ordinance regarding ambulance services, but he did not know the topic would come up at Wednesday’s meeting and would review it and report back to the council.
LaGrange did say the ordinance allows any ambulance service to operate in St. Mary Parish and sets out guidelines that must be met by a company. They must be licensed and pay a fee for that license.
There is no contract with the parish for the service, LaGrange said.
There can be more than one provider in the parish, he said.