EMS in Gadsden & Etowah County

EMS in Gadsden & Etowah County

Posted in the Gadsden Forum

HOKES BLUFF

Cleveland, AL

#1 Jan 10, 2010
Dispatchers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics are threatening to stop working or quit to protest Gadsden-Etowah EMS’ inability to pay for their salaries and ambulance repairs on time.

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A number of employees of Gadsden-Etowah EMS who tried to cash their paychecks Friday at Wachovia Bank in downtown Gadsden were turned away because of insufficient funds. Employees say cashing their paychecks on payday has been an ongoing problem for several months.(The account number has been blurred to protect privacy.)
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SARAH DUDIK | GADSDEN TIMES

The work stoppage could cause a shortage of ambulances to respond to Gadsden’s emergency 911 calls since Gadsden-Etowah EMS has a contract with the city for three ambulance trucks.

More than a dozen Gadsden-Etowah Emergency Medical Services employees milled around the Wachovia Bank parking lot Friday afternoon in Gadsden after their paychecks had been returned to them stamped “NSF — Not Sufficient Funds.”

They talked on cell phones, many of them trying to figure out how to get through the weekend without the money to pay their utility bills.

The race to the bank is a bi-weekly tradition for Gadsden-Etowah EMS employees, said one dispatcher. Usually only one or two employees’ paychecks go through before the others’ begin bouncing. The situation sometimes is handled within a few days. Some employees have waited weeks for their paychecks to be honored. This has been going on for years, but began affecting most employees in August last year.

Office manager Sandy Greer said the bounced checks this time were caused by early bank closings in light of the extreme weather in Northeast Alabama this week.

The banks weren’t able to process the company’s funds in time, Greer said.

She said this is not the first time there have been problems with people’s paychecks, but said the company works to make things right immediately with employees when that happens.

“Employees always get paid,” Greer said.“There is not an employee there that will go one week to two weeks without getting paid.”

Employees told a different story.

“There have been trucks shut down because of this,” said EMT Shellie Shanks, who quit Friday afternoon when her part-time salary check bounced yet again.“They will not run the trucks. They leave. I shut my truck down today.”

Another EMT, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear she would be fired, said she has called the dispatch office on paydays when her check bounced to inform them she won’t respond to another call until her check has gone through.

“It’s crappy, because I know the people who are calling 911 need help, but I’ve got to take care of my family, too,” she said.“So we shut the trucks down.”

Gadsden Fire Chief Stephen Carroll said he has heard rumors of the bad paychecks, but from the city’s perspective, the ambulance service has continued to fulfill its obligations to public safety.“What we like them to do here, they have been maintaining that,” Carroll said Friday afternoon.

Dispatchers often will cover for the protesting workers by reporting that the trucks are broken down, said one dispatcher, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

But sometimes the trucks really are broken down, said Shanks, pointing to more evidence of financial troubles at Gadsden-Etowah EMS.

“We had an ambulance that needed new tires, and (an auto repair place) would not even put new tires on our vehicles because we owed them money,” Shanks said.“If you have a flat in one of these ambulances when you’re running an emergency with a patient in the back of it, who’s at risk? Me, you, the patient, the passenger and everybody else that’s out on the road.
mztoria

Birmingham, AL

#2 Feb 17, 2010
WHAT! this is outrageous. why would you jeopradize thousands of peoples health? some may not be able to be able to pay the high salaries that the ems may cahrge them? my opioion is that you guys the ems charge excessively to much money just ti ride back and forth to the hospital. there could be real danger in nedd but all you are worried about is money? i don't know what kind of people you are who is willing to cut off all plans in helping old and needy people in your services. you may not know the condition of your patient. but oh no that's not the issue money is...
rlawver

Higdon, AL

#3 Mar 30, 2010
mztoria i understand what you are saying no it not right for them to make them calls of who gets helped and when based on some finacial issues, BUT do you know that you could go work at Mcdonalds and make just as much if not more than the employees at these companies.they must work many long hours for the little money they get. I mean if you work do you put in 60,70,80, and sometimes more than 100 hours a week at work. I know that if most of us if not all of us worked that long in one week, we would be highly "pissed" to have our check rejected. Please dont judge them for their actions, to them it was a last resort to go to the press about the situation.
lee

Leeds, AL

#4 May 15, 2010
To mztoria: If you have never worked in this field I believe you should be quiet. You have no idea what these people go through each day so that you have an emergency response transport available. I work for an ambulance company and I wholy support what they did. You do no good to the people in your community if you have shoddy equipment and unsafe vehicles. I don't know anyone out there that would do this job and not expect to get paid for it. You work, you get paid. That's it, its final. You don't pay me, I don't work. How about researching an occupation before responding to a very well meaning article. You live in Gadsden I see, so do I. I would not want an ambulance to come pick me up and them not be able to run the vehicle efficently because they can't afford tires. That gets people killed. We are in the business to stop that from happening but we can't do that if we don't have the resoures and you may not like it, but getting paid for working is one of them.
Walmartia

Rapid City, SD

#5 May 30, 2010
If you have never worked in this field I believe you should be quiet. You have no idea what these people go through each day so that you have an emergency response transport available.
I know that EMTs should be making a helluva a lot more than they do for what is expected of them. A EMT is like a doctor on a battlefield of stupidity scraping people up off the pavement, saving their lives, so that they can go to the hospital, where the real docs can collect the big bucks in comfort.
geemsblue

Tucson, AZ

#6 May 23, 2011
i work for the company gadsden etowah and let me give ya a lil bit of info.... they cut our family health care completely, make us pay for our uniforms, bounce our paychecks, give us no incentive to work, stop payin into our 401k, have not give us a raise since 2007, we make below the national average for ems workers, we're up all night most nights we work 24 hour shifts and with the amount they charge they keep for themselves want to know what a emt makes at gadsden etowah try 8.00 hour. a Paramedic who has a 2 year degree makes 11.65 hour, now i dare you to find someone with a degree who gives as much and gets less you cant! and you cant judge us for uprising against a rich doctor who owns this company but cant seem to pay us or give us good equipment or good trucks while he makes millions, so there thats how Gadsden Etowah treats its employee's so how dare you critisize us for trying to take care of us so we can take care of you!
Dang Yankee Fire

Sparta, NJ

#7 Jun 12, 2011
Good Luck gang! This seems to be a nationwide problem.

mztoria: Just because the company charges a high fee,in your opinion, it does not mean that the employees get that fee. Could a taxi ride or a ride from a friend be the answer instead of tying up an ambulance?
You do know that the fee people are charged goes to fuel costs, insurance to put the rigs on the road, ambulance repair fees, costs to run an office, postage costs, liceansing fees, equipmemt costs: oxtgen, linens, oxygen suppiles, stehoscopes, Blood Pressure cuffs, and any and all costs associated to run a business. You should be upset with the company administration not the EMT's and Medics in the field who are out there each and every day.
On the other hand you could certainly offer your time and volunteer to do it but you will still need to be CERTIFIED by the state to provide Basic Life Support Care.
Good Luck to those at work at Gadsden Etowah EMS! The hate ya one minute but LOVE ya when they need ya.
Dang Yankee Fire

Sparta, NJ

#8 Jun 12, 2011
Does anyone know what the difference between the fee charged by G-E EMS and the actual reimbursement by MEDICAID/MEDICARE?

mztoria: I forgot to ask have you used teh servive and can share some actual experinces with us, such as billing issues?
Former Employee

Anniston, AL

#9 Oct 15, 2012
As a former employee of Gadsden Etowah EMS, it's very true. Dr. Roger D. Stanmore, yes I will call him out by name, has no appreciation for his employees. They work hard to provide a service to help the public and in return he doesn't pay them. It is still happening to this day. I have remained friends with the employees and as of Oct 10, 2012 he did not pay his employees again. These folks have to support there families just like he has to support his. He doesn't care, he lives in his big house with all the companies he owns and makes all kinds of money. Not paying his employees or those that provide services for him shows he's a poor example of a man.
Fireinstructor

Birmingham, AL

#10 Feb 22, 2014
This is the same mess that is going on with decatur ems. Owned by the same dr stanmore. Yes the owner is a doctor. Sleazebag no ethics stanmore. He should be ashamed. He knows better. They always trot out the same lame excuses why their checks bounce. City of decatur is moving to revoke the company license due to this same thing. Office managers and conpany administration need ti quit lyibg about their deadbeat owner

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