According to Air Evac representative Missy Welborn, for insured residents inside the city limits, the proposed new membership program would totally eliminate the expense of an emergency flight, which on average costs between $20,000 and $25,000. Those who are uninsured would be billed at the allowable Medicare rate.
The agreement would cover flights out of Calhoun County, as well as flights from local hospitals to larger trauma centers. The cost of the program to the city would total $29,148 per year. While no other Alabama municipality is participating to the program, Welborn said that several cities across the south are participating, with the state of Texas being pretty much covered.
Currently, the Piedmont area is served by two air ambulance companies, Air Evac, which has a helicopter in Carrolton, Ga, and Lifesaver of Rainbow City. In cases where Air Evac is unable to respond, the program would not cover flights taken by Lifesaver. Last year, the Piedmont area saw 19 flights, totaling almost a half million dollars. No action was taken at this time.
During the visitor comments portion of the meeting, Piedmont resident Kenneth McGatha addressed the council concerning an issue of water and raw sewage flooding his property with each rain. McGatha said that he’s attempted to have previous councils address the problem to no avail.
He went on to note the lackluster response from the current council, which he said has forced him to take his case to various governmental agencies. A public health official has tested the sewage gases at his home to be five times higher than normal, according to McGatha. It was noted that the city is awaiting approval of grant money to repair that area along Alabama Street. Mayor Bill Baker assured McGatha that in the mean time, temporary measures would be taken to alleviate the problem.
In other business, the Holiday Schedule for 2013-16 was passed. Additionally, bills for payment were approved totaling $457,064.59. The council also voted to open bids to replace one mile of gas lines, with the cost of the project covered by bond money.
The next regular Piedmont City Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 7th, at 6 pm.