Letter To The Editor – January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014 – I am writing this letter to all the local papers in Fulton County in regards to the shutdown of the Fulton County EMS/Non-emergency service. For six years my mom has depended on this service to transport her to and from Dialysis (three time a week) and Doctor’s appointments for she is bed ridden and can not be transported in a car or any other kind of vechicle. On December 30th we recieved a letter from the Fulton County Commissioners informing us that as of December 31st, this service would be discontinued due to they were breaking the state law. They say they are abiding by Ohio Revised Code 307.05 which states, in part “ A board of county commissioners – in counties with a population of (only) 40,000 or less may operate a non-emergency patient transport organization.” They say as of 2012, the county’s population exceeds our statutory authority. There will be no service to replace the county’s non-emergency service. They gave me a list of five area ambulance companies to contact. I called all five services and was turned away.

I was told a week before from Bill Chester (he’s the dispatcher and schedules the transport of patients) that this might happen and to be prepared to hear from Mr. Vond Hall the County Administrator. I was told this was not part of his job to contact us, but he was concerned about those who depended on this service to be prepared of what was going to happen. It was the job of Rob Cheney or Mr. Vond Hall to get ahold of us and let us know they were going to discontinue the non-emergency services, which neither did. Instead I get a letter dated December 26th on December 30th, one day before the service was going to be discontinuced. I was quite upset for I didn’t know how I was going to be able to get someone to transport my mom to Dialysis that following Friday, on such short notice. I not only thought about my mom, but other Fulton County residents who also depended on this service. How were they going to transport their loved ones to doctor’s appointments or if they were on Dialysis.

I sent emails to Mr. Vond Hall, the Fulton County Commisioners expressing my disappointment about this matter and them only giving me one day notice to find someone to transport my mom. I heard back from Mr. Vond Hall, our County Administrator, and his reply to me was that I was well aware of this service shutting down from Bill Chester well before I got the letter was sent out and that it was in every local newspaper and that in the letter I was given a minimum of 7 if not 8 options for transportation service and that my mom never received a bill from the county for the service they provided her over the last 6 years.

Yes, I suppose the notice may have been in the local newspapers, but we don’t receive the local paper and yes, they didn’t bill her personally for the service, but they did bill her Medicare. The letter only gave me five companies to call, which I did. In a moment of despair I called the Delta Rescue, after calling all five companies and asked if they couldn’t help me out with transporting my mom to Dialysis (for if she didn’t receive her dialysis, she would die) and I spoke with Matt Nofzinger and he said he would get back to me, that he had to talk to the Chief. My prayers were answered later that afternoon, when Mr. Nofzinger called me to say he had got ahold of someone to transport my mom for Dialysis. A burden had been lifted and I think Matt Nofzinger for helping me out, he was a Godsend. If he was able to do this for me, why didn’t the County Commissioners or Mr. Vohn Hall, try and do the same for those of us who were being left out in the cold without transportation for our loved ones?

Shame on our elected County Commissioners and Mr. Vohn Hall for not thinking of how shutting down the non-emergency services would affect the residents of Fulton County who have to depend on such services and give us only a short time to find other means of transportation. I have sent out emails to our County Commissioners letting them know just how I feel, and I’m not just stopping there. They have been breaking the law for years, why now are they so concerned? YOU the residents of Fulton County need to speak out, as I am, and let the Commissioners know how you feel about this matter. Not only write the Commissioners, but write out State Congressman, Sherrod Brown and House of Representate Bob Latta and Marcy Kaptur. Contact our local new stations!!!! Let our voices be heard, for you or your loved one, some day may need these services, like my mom does. Thank you for hearing me out.

– Stella Black

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