Med Express dropped from parish 911 rotation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Just one month after it was approved to respond to 911 calls in Concordia Parish, ambulance service Med Express has been dropped from the parish’s 911 rotation.

Mark Majors, chief executive officer of Med Express, said he had not been notified of the decision as of Tuesday. He said the company will still operate in Concordia Parish, since those who want Med Express service can still call the company directly.

Normally, if a dispatcher received a 911 call, he would transfer the call to either Med Express or American Medical Response, whichever company was next in the rotation.

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But Sheriff Randy Maxwell – who chairs the 911 Communications Board, which made the decision – said Med Express personnel failed to answer the phone six times between Dec. 12 and Dec. 27.

&uot;Those calls were then immediately transferred to AMR,&uot;&160;he said Tuesday. &uot;None of those calls were life-threatening situations, but they could have been.&uot;

But Majors said the problem happened because BellSouth had accidentally switched the calls to a non-ringing line at Med Express.

&uot;Before that, there was a delay in getting us into the 911 rotation because BellSouth hadn’t gotten the equipment in to switch the calls directly to our office,&uot;&160;he said.

&uot;It’s very frustrating, because in every other place we’ve gotten into these bugs have been worked out in a few days. … We’re being penalized for something that’s not within our control.&uot;

BellSouth has since corrected the switching problem, but Med Express still hasn’t received any 911 calls, Majors said Tuesday.

Med Express had served Concordia Parish once before but had cut off service in Concordia Parish – abruptly, according to some emergency officials – on Aug. 16, 1999.

But after more than two months of debate and delays, the Concordia Parish Police Jury approved another occupational license for Med Express on Oct. 2.

Then in early December, the Communications Board voted to add Med Express to the parish’s 911 rotation.

The parish’s only other ambulance service is operated by the Vidalia Fire Department but only operates within Vidalia’s town limits.