Ambulance ordinance heads to jury
It looks like the new parish ordinance regulating ambulance services in Acadia might finally be headed to the full police jury for consideration.
The final iteration of the document, which has been the subject of committee meetings since April, is expected to be introduced during the Tuesday, Oct. 8, meeting.
After a public hearing, the jury will consider the ordinance for final adoption, probably at its Nov. 12 meeting.
It becomes effective immediately upon adoption.
The biggest change to the document made during the Ambulance Committee meeting Tuesday, Oct. 1, was the final establishment of zones as they relate to response times for the ambulance providers.
As originally written, Zone 1 — which requires a response time of “less than 9 minutes” — consisted of “the area within the municipality in which an ambulance is normally stationed.”
But it was pointed out that a provider might claim that, if the units are regularly rotated, the term “normally stationed” might be questioned.
The definition was changed to “the area within the municipalities of Acadia Parish.”
However, attorney Glen Howie pointed out Tuesday night that there are seven incorporated municipalities in Acadia Parish — Crowley, Rayne, Church Point, Iota, Estherwood, Mermentau and Morse.
“Any one of those would be classified as ‘Zone 1’ under this definition,” he explained.
A suggestion was made to base the zones on population, but Mark Majors, CEO of MedExpress, said that would “disincentivize” a provider from locating a station in the more rural areas of the parish.
“This is the most difficult part of this ordinance,” Howie said. “I think the jury is just going to have to make the hard decision to name specific zones.”
The committee finally decided to designate the incorporated areas of Crowley, Rayne and Church Point as Zone I.
All other areas of the parish are classified as Zone II, requiring a response time of “less than 21 minutes” on emergency calls initiated by 911.
The full jury meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.