Baptist Ambulance is moving at full speed to improve emergency response times and meet growing medical needs in Lafayette County after reaching an agreement with the County Oversight Board.

At a regular meeting, the county supervisors prioritized Baptist Ambulance over all 911 calls in the City of Oxford and Lafayette County. Baptist and CareMed had previously shared priority over appeals until the decision. Baptist is not financially bound by this agreement and has presented this agreement for the betterment of the community.

CareMed is licensed for private transportation, and city and county firefighters are licensed to respond to emergency calls as they have done in the past.

According to Vice President of Operations Eric Messer, Baptist has agreed to provide three ambulances 24 hours a day during the week and three more ambulances operating 24 hours a day Monday through Friday. An Advanced Life Support vehicle will also answer emergency calls.

The company intends to hire at least 30 medical workers to manage these vehicles and answer calls. Despite concerns about staff shortages, Messer said they were making rapid progress.

“We continue to hire people,” he said. “We bought three new ambulances and two brand new flying cars. We are working quickly to get this done by January 31st.

In the event of out-of-county transportation, Baptist will always have an EMS available to residents.

“We will be leaving two to three ambulances for 911 calls at all times,” Messer said.

The performance and response times of the ambulance service will be evaluated monthly by a committee during regular meetings. When asked if the community would be allowed to attend the meetings, Messer said the sessions would be closed.

“The meetings will not be public, but the information will be published,” Messer said.

Committee members will be chosen in the coming weeks of January.

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