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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pilot, schmilot, what does it cost?



CLEARWATER - A committee designed to choose an accountant to evaluate the financial side of proposals to change Pinellas' emergency medical services system met for the first time Thursday (dec. 22).

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, one of the members, said he understood that the county was supposed to allow a pilot project to allow firefighter/paramedics to take patients to the hospital. Instead, the Pinellas County Commission extended the contract with Paramedics Plus, the for-profit, Texas-based company that provides ambulance service. The contract gives Paramedics Plus the exclusive right to provide ambulance service in Pinellas.

State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who formed the committee, said that wasn't his understanding. Latvala said he expected the Paramedics Plus contract to be renewed. As for a pilot project of fire transport, Latvala said:

"I say if we want a pilot, we just get in the car and go over to Hillsborough and see how it works there or in one of the other 63 counties" that have fire transport.

-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Friday, December 23, 2011 8:25am]


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