Houston-based EMS provider wants to work in PA

Published 6:36 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

Is this town big enough for two ambulance services?

The Port Arthur City Council would like to find out themselves as they host a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15 in the Port Arthur City Hall, 444 Fourth St. The public hearing will occur during the regular meeting of the Port Arthur City Council that starts at 5:30 p.m.

The purpose of the public hearing is to consider whether or not to issue an ambulance permit to operate an ambulance within the city limits. Currently, Acadian Ambulance is the sole EMS provider in the city.

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Bobby Long, regional director of business development for Concord EMS, the Houston-based company who wants to operate in Port Arthur, said they are a ground ambulance provider that started nearly nine years ago. The owner of the business, Gloria Enzler Broussard, is EMT certified. She’s also involved in the day-to- day operations of the business as president and CEO.

Concord also has branches in Dallas, Sugarland and Pasadena.

The company is tentatively looking at the old fire station at Memorial Boulevard and 32nd Street as a base of operations in Port Arthur. If that falls through they may move into a facility on Gulfway Street that once housed Gold Star and Metro EMS.

Long said it makes good business sense to move into Port Arthur.

“In a market where there’s only one provider, there’s always something lacking. After we completed our own investigation we saw the variances for ourselves.

“We also visited Port Neches, Groves and Nederland, inquiring about licensures in those cities.”

Long said he learned of Port Arthur before he was employed with Concord EMS. Then, he was working with another EMS provider that was expanding into this area that later served as the driving catalyst.

“We want to be active in this community,” Long said. “Our general manager is involved in the community.

“Port Arthur is big enough in years past to have two EMS providers and they operated well together.”

John Clingaman, operations manager with Acadian Ambulance, said the city’s ordinance requires an ambulance provider be on the scene by eight minutes and Acadian has met that benchmark 90 percent of the time. They also fall within a 10 percent cushion for not making it within the eight-minute threshold.

In addition, Clingaman said he meets with local fire chiefs, emergency management coordinators and other entities on a monthly basis about meeting quality improvement.

In 2010, the city chose Acadian as the sole provider after issuing them the one permit to the city.

Clingaman said adding a second EMS provider in the city does concern him for the public’s wellbeing.

“I’m concerned for the public’s safety and getting the closest ambulance for that patient,” he said. “With more than one, it creates confusion and they may not get to the patient. At least it could be a negative outcome for the patient.

As the EMS provider for the past seven years, Clingaman said they have met ordinance requirements as they are written. He added that they also are involved in the community and give back at events and provide standby at football games.

“We’re invested in the city of Port Arthur,” he said. “We were here when there were two providers (Acadian and Stat Care EMS prior to 2010) and patients experienced confusion and delays.”

At their July 11 meeting, the City Council listened to a presentation by Long and William Cranston about an Emergency Medical Services provider known then as The Choice.

He called Acadian Ambulance, the city’s EMS provider, as an “illustrious company” and The Choice isn’t requesting to replace Acadian. However, he said they could both operate under a competitive enterprise system and the constituency in Port Arthur would benefit.

“Not to poke at them, but we’ve heard over and over what the people want is community involvement,” Long said. “We spoke to Dr. (Marsha) Thigpen of Gulf Coast Health Care Center who asked ‘Who do you talk to? Who do you reach out to?’ This is a start of the process of collective choice.

He added that the company focuses on integrity and transparency in addition to community involvement.

The company also has a unit available Long described as a “hospital ER on wheels.”