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Atrium receives $600k to purchase new ambulances for Macon, Middle Georgia counties

Jason Vorhees | Georgia Trust for Local News
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff gets a demonstration of a hydraulic stretcher in one of the new Atrium Health Navicent ambulances from EMT Josh Humphrey and paramedics Kerry Sanders, back, and Jeannie Middlebrooks on Monday, April 22, 2024.

A couple of times each year, emergency responders for Atrium Health Navicent need treatment for shoulder and back pain that stems from lifting patients in and out of ambulances.

“EMS has gotten to be a pretty physical taxing profession,” Tony Brown, Atrium Navicent’s Emergency Medical Services director for the central Georgia market, said standing at the rear of a sleek teal-colored Ford Transit 250 parked in front of the hospital Monday.

The new ambulances appear more like transit vans compared to the old, boxy vehicles still emblazoned with The Medical Center of Central Georgia’s logo. The new ones feature a hydraulic stretcher lift that helps emergency responders load patients in and out without straining their muscles and taxing their joints. The hospital bought several of them last year but will buy four more later this year with $600,000 in federal appropriations.

Atrium Health Navicent received $600,000 in federal appropriations to buy four new van-style ambulances Sen. Jon Ossoff says are “the latest and greatest.”

The new ambulances are “easier, safer, better drive will provide a much smoother ride than that top heavy box – believe me, most of my career has been spent on those things,” said Brown, who has been working in emergency services since 1997. “The difference between the ride is night and day.”

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Sen. Jon Ossoff toured one of Atrium Navicent’s new ambulances and spoke to several dozen people about the bipartisan effort to earmark the money that will pay for four more of them. Ossoff said he and Sen. Raphael Warnock garnered bipartisan support for the appropriation.

“These are the latest greatest ambulances for a health system like this one,” Ossoff said to a gaggle of reporters. “In this most recent budget, and in the last two budgets, I’ve appropriated funds to upgrade emergency health care, emergency facilities and first response in every region of the state. And so this is a part of this ongoing effort to upgrade the quality of health care in parts of the state that often have not had the kind of investment that they need.”

Ossoff said his office receives hundreds of applications for federal appropriations each year and those are assessed based upon community needs and community support. Atrium Navicent’s application was “a stand-up proposal,” Ossoff said.

Atrium Health Navicent CEO Delvecchio Finley said the hospital currently has 27 ambulances and the goal is to eventually upgrade all of them.

Atrium Navicent and Community Ambulance are the two emergency service providers in Bibb County. Atrium Navicent’s territory covers areas south of Mercer University Drive and east of Interstate 75. The healthcare giant also provides ambulance services in Baldwin, Jones, Twiggs and Treutlen County, which is just east of Dublin and about 87 miles from Macon.

To contact Civic Journalism Fellow Laura Corley, call 478-301-5777 or email [email protected].

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