HomeNewsSelected Augusta EMS provider praised, charges less in Forsyth County

Selected Augusta EMS provider praised, charges less in Forsyth County



The ambulance company recently chosen for Augusta, Central EMS, charges Forsyth County, Ga., its primary existing market, significantly less than Augusta patients are now billed by other providers.

But the two counties – and their EMS agreements – are significantly different.


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  1. The BagMan would not be happy with the Forsyth County contract. Is paying gratuities, or doing favors the same as kickbacks? What if a bagman is used to distribute the gratuities? Would a campaign contribution for a million dollar a year increase in EMS subsidy be a kickback I’ mean gratuities? Have there been false claims file against Augusta Richmond County, Medicaid, and Medicare, or private citizens in EMS billing? “Inquiring minds wants to know”

  2. Who is the “BagMan”? When it came to rumors of vote-buying in Richmond Country, I at least heard the names mentioned by the rumor mongers about the “BagMan”. Since the “BagMan” was kind of like Bigfoot, I did not really give it much thought. Meanwhile, are citizens contributing to local campaigns doing it to get favors from elected people? Oh my.

  3. Why would Augusta with smaller population than Forsythe has such a huge amount more ?
    “And despite the smaller population of 206,000, Augusta had 50% more EMS calls, averaging 2,200 per month, last year, with 65% resulting in transports.”

  4. Susan thanks for this report… wondering if stats are in error that Augusta’s population is smaller than Forsythe but Augusta has 50% more EMS calls….??? this is really weighing on my mind as to why this is the case if it is not an error. thanks

    • It has to do with the larger population of people living in poverty or close to it. They have no transportation to a primary care doctor or they don’t understand how to arrange transportation with the state sponsored program transport people to a doctor’s office. So patients use the ER for their primary care. The ER is not the place to get maintenance medications (htn, gout, diabetes, etc.) so the patients run out of their medications and end up calling 911 again.

    • Doug my guess is that it is related to the median income ($121,000 vs about $46,000) and therefore also the level of education. Meaning fewer people in Augusta with access to a ride from a family member/friend, and lesser education/no insurance calling for non-emergencies or those that should actually just be an office visit or car transport, also add to that the probable increased crime and accidents. As a healthcare provider I am amazed at the type of calls that EMS gets in our area.

      I will say that it sounds like Forsyth has a better city department to write contracts (no surprise there) and that their contract seems to make them accountable and expects full transparency.

      • Shannon is right on target. Anyone who compares the demographics of Richmond County with Forsyth County is trying to compare night and day. We have all heard about the Gold Cross calls to come and adjust the termostat and while that might be an exageration, it is not far off from the truth.

        The real truth here is that most people are clueless when it comes to healthcare costs. The problem for EVERY healthcare provider in Richmond County is not just the increased usage per capita, but the real problem is the funding for each visit, or lack thereof.

        Whether we all like it or not, over time the federal goverment has caused every single healthcare provider to also be a taxing authority and as such charge higher prices than one normally would have to try and cover the costs of the patients that either don’t pay at all or have a source of payment that covers some but not all of the provider’s cost. It is not a surprise to me that Central charges their Forsyth patients less than Gold Cross charged their Richmond County patients. Guess what, the hospital in Forsyth County also charges less than Piedmont-Augusta and Doctors does, maybe even AU as well.

        • The “thermostat call” was not a fib. It was brought up at one of the many “Disgusting Behavior” Commission Meetings, I have attended. As you said, Shannon is correct. The problem that Richmond County has is one of Healthcare Education. University Hospital and MCG Hospital (now Piedmont Augusta and Augusta University Medical Center, respectively) donate MILLIONS of dollars every year for Outreach Medical Care and Indigent In-Patient care. Yes, the indigent and under insured DO WAIT, until their issue is more urgent than they should. BUT, they also find it easier to dial three numbers (911), than to call around and seek someone to help them get to the doctor or clinic. Gold Cross reached a point of 51% of their calls were “No Pays”. That is sad and disgusting. As I have said earlier, just wait until Central drops their subsidy amount on the Commission. I do not have anything negative to say about Central — they have transported members of my family, living in Forsyth County. Speaking of Forsyth, I am not sure where you are getting your idea that Northside Forsyth charges less than Piedmont-Augusta or AU. Doctor’s Hospital is the only “For Profit” hospital in these parts. They also have failed to build the Columbia County Free-Standing ER.

          • You are delusional if you think only the for-profit hospitals have high charges. When the AJC did an article about hospital charges in the state it was shocking that University Hospital ranked #9 out of over 160 hospitals in the state.

      • Richmond county has 57 % black whereas Forsyth is less than 5%. There is the difference in number of calls. County comparison of racial makeup of the population and the commission is all one needs to know.

  5. No mention of the education level of Forsyth citizens and their living conditions compared to Augusta. That would explain why they have fewer calls I bet. Lots of people there know how to help themselves instead of calling 911.

  6. The median age and indigent population levels of both counties should have been included in the article’s narrative, however the median income says it all. What the Press didn’t go on to say is Forsyth residents are most likely more proactive towards their health, Richmond residents most likely procrastinate with regards to their healthcare needs. As a result Richmond residents are a “sicker” population as a whole and end up seeking reactive emergent care as their treatment option as opposed to scheduled appointment care from their primary physician, if they even have one. I have friends who are medical administrators, ER doctors, ER nurses, retired ambulance company managers, EMT’s, medical billing processors, physical rehab facility owners and all have parroted the same observation. The fact is, over-utilization with the knowledge many calls will be written-off as bad debt results in higher prices.

    • Since my parents moved there in 1987, and my in-laws in 1991, I can say that you are only “Part Right”. Forsyth used to be a mostly white County, but that has changed over the years. Forsyth has enjoyed a steady influx of “comfortable” blacks and whites over the years, escaping the unbelievably shocking taxes of DeKalb County and Fulton County (Deep Blue, both of them). There is a large population of Mexican-Americans in Forsyth. Right outside the Square, there is a large Tyson chicken Plant, right next to the Fairgrounds. There is much affluence inside Forsyth boundaries, because of the neighborhoods in and around Lake Lanier. Exactly like there is around Lake Oconee. First time I ever saw a Spanish menu was at the Burger King in Cumming, GA.

  7. At one time Forsyth Co. was a very rural county. It is now one of the “white flight” counties that is populated by those running from the Atlanta sprawl. As was stated by another writer, comparing Richmond to Forsyth is like comparing day and night; apples and oranges. The politicos in August are content with having their egos stroked and enjoy their preening for their voters. Their mode of governing is is finger pointing and ineptness. They watch the purse strings if they are not getting something for themselves. Mr. 5×5’s ego far exceeds his abilities and it seems there are a couple that must be told what to think or plagiarize someone else’s ideas. Kudos to Mr. Masson’s Mom for raising him right.

  8. All, thanks and that helps me understand. With that said it seems to stand to reason that any Richmond County provider would have to charge substantially more to cover the county than Forsyth Co. so not a fair comparison / discussion that provider in Forsyth charges less than would happen in Richmond Co.

  9. According to Wikipedia, as of 2020, the White population for Forsyth Co is 63%, Black is a whopping 4%. Interestingly, Hispanic is 10%! (So that’s where the illegal immigrants were shipped off to! They knew where the money was!) White corn pop for Richmond Co is 33%, Black 54%, Hispanic 5%. Perhaps this esplains things.

  10. Just imagine…it’s summertime…its 100 degrees outside..you don’t have to pay you own electric bill while your neighbor does..you run your AC on 68 while your neighbor runs his on 78..that’s the whole ambulance contract in a nutshell..40% of people don’t pay so they don’t care about a subsidy..that’s what happens when people are lazy and sorry. Also? There is no 1 bagman..there’s about 6 on the commission and probably a few that work directly for the commission. This place has long deserved a government raid and they don’t even try to hide it anymore. I mean you have a ex mayor using a storage shed that the city taxpayers paid for. If I were the city I’d get a warrant and have the lock cut off. Hardie Davis has bent the city over for 8 years and I bet if he ran again he’d get elected because along with sorry and lazy people come uninformed voters..

    • They do not even have to go THAT far — Have the Marshals Office simply go to the storage facility and place a SECOND lock on the unit, THAT ARC HAS PAID FOR. Other than his plaques and trophies, everything else, needs to be catalogued and verified that it does not belong to ARC, when Hardie decides to go through the stuff.

  11. If you wonder why prices at the stores continue to rise, it’s in part to cover “shrink” from the ever growing amount of people who feel they’re entitled to take whatever they want.

    There’s a similar problem with healthcare, where people who never pay their medical bills, feel it’s okay to call an ambulance to take them to the ER because they stubbed their toes. The personnel having to do the transports don’t work for free, nor do business owners run charity, so either the government uses tax dollars to subsidize all the deadbeats, or the people actually paying their bills and up with higher bills.

    It’s unfortunate half the commissioners elected in Augusta are too dumb to figure this out, but with the types of people Richmond County voters like to keep in office, I’m not terribly surprised. If Hardie hadn’t been term limited they probably would have given him another term. It’s fortunate they do have term limits, but Mayor Johnson now has much work to try to get done, if half the rotten commissioners will actually let him.

    • As much as politicians like to try and tell people..you can’t tax the wealthy to make the poor more responsible. I have never had a problem with government assistance. The problem I have is being on that assistance for life. Unless you’re aged or disabled you should not be on assistance for your entire life and keep pumping on more kids to drain the system even further. Put a time limit on it and teach them a trade. Even the government has signs in wildlife areas telling you not to feed the wildlife because they become dependent on it and will not feed themselves..I’ve always thought that is a great analogy..

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