GATP responds to Sine Die EMS reform setback

Saddened but undeterred, victims pledge to continue fight for transparency


ATLANTA, GEORGIA (April 3, 2019) The Georgia Ambulance Transparency Project vowed Wednesday to continue its campaign to reform how the state administers and regulates ambulance services after a popular ethics and transparency packaged failed at the eleventh hour in a special conference committee.

House Bill 264, as passed by that chamber, would have applied strict, new transparency and ethics protections in the delivery of emergency medical services. A special bicameral conference committee was convened after the Senate passed a diluted version, but the panel could not find consensus before adjournment Tuesday night.

The GATP, which represented the interests of victims and their families before the legislature, said it will continue to expose examples of conflicts of interest in EMS services and to give voice to victims in every corner of the state.

“EMS reform may have suffered a procedural stumble this week, but it’s not dead–far from it. We remain committed to seeing this through, because we understand the consequences of cronyism and corruption,” GATP spokeswoman Julianne Thompson said. “Chairman Bill Werkheiser gave this legislation his all, and through it has earned the sincere gratitude of Georgians impacted by EMS corruption. His work for transparency and ethics in public health won’t soon be forgotten.”

HB 264 passed the Georgia House of Representatives on a 148-6 vote last month and was positively reported by the Senate Ethics Committee before key provisions were removed by the Rules Committee before the full chamber.

As passed by the House and Senate Ethics Committee, HB 264 would:

  • Ban ambulance vendors from serving on Department of Public Health Emergency Medical Service Advisory Council committees that select service providers;
  • Require vendors to register with the state ethics commission;
  • Require mandatory service provider reviews to ensure safety; and
  • Require that all ambulance providers meet safety standards.

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