New contract for air/ground ambulance service
By John Mullen
Gulf Shores is continuing its contract with Airmed to provide ambulance ground and air service to residents of the city.
Gulf Shores residents who were transported by medstar by ambulance in 2020 was 970, with 24 others transported by air.
“Fire and rescue successfully negotiated a second contract with Airmed carrier which provide all of our city residents gap coverage for air and ground ambulance services from anywhere in Baldwin County,” City Administrator Steve Griffin said. “That’s huge. The gap coverage is such that if a resident is insured their Blue Cross Blue Shield, whatever their insurance company, will pay the first amount.”
Residents with medical insurance will receive the service at no cost but those without coverage will have be charged at a discounted rate. According to the council agenda, “the bill will be reduced to the Medicare Allowable
All residents will have access to a full Airmed membership that would cover residents anywhere in the world where Airmed offers ambulance services.
Also, during the meeting, though not on the full agenda, Councilman Joe Garris asked if the council was going to act to some way reopen the West Fourth Street bridge that has been unused for more than 15 years.
Griffin said the contract will save residents substantial costs over the price of regular ambulance service.
“Oftentimes before we got into this contract with Airmed the poor resident was left having bills of $500 plus for ground and in the $30,000 to $40,000 range for air ambulance services,” Griffin said.
The city will also send out letters to fill in residents on the details of the contract.
“We’ll be sending out a direct letter to each and every resident in Gulf Shores about this coverage,” Griffin said. “It explains the package but also provides information if a resident has a question about it or gets billed inadvertently how they can rectify that.”
The contract renewal will cost the city about $146,000 for the second year of the service. It applies to Gulf Shores residents needing emergency medical transportation anywhere in Baldwin County.
West 4th St. Bridge
“I’d like to see us this year get this West Fourth Street bridge straightened out,” Garris told the council at the start of the Jan. 4 meeting. “I’d invite everyone of you to go down and look at it. We don’t need that in our city and we need to move forward with that this year. We’ve been kind of kicking it down the road for I think 16 years or somewhere along in that neighborhood.”
Griffin said there is money in the 2021 budget to begin studying utilizing the bridge for foot and/or vehicle traffic.
“We budgeted $25,000 this year to do both a traffic study about the good, bad and ugly associated with pedestrian only, vehicle and pedestrian as well as the engineering costs associated with reestablishing that bridge,” Griffin said. “That has been in this budget and we’ll move forward with that this year.”
The discussion came as the city is beginning extensive work in a four-block area of the beach walking district that will include drainage improvements, additional parking and other amenities.
“Initially, our intent is just to have that as additional parking not necessarily paid parking,” Director of Parks and Recreation Grant Brown said. “It’s about 250 additional parking spaces in a four-block area. We are looking to improve from Second Avenue south to beach highway and then two blocks east of 59 and two blocks west of 59. It’s getting on-street parking, sidewalks, landscaping, pedestrian street lights, the complete streets when we’re done.”
During the meeting, the council:
• OK’d a contract with Geo Services for $42,000 to resurface the triple jump track at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex on Oak Road West.
• OK’d two memorandums of understanding with Gulf State Park and Valor Hospitality for lifeguard service at the beach pavilion and the lodge.
• OK’d a liquor license for Cazadore’s Mexican Restaurant on East Second St and East 24th Ave.
• OK’d a taxi franchise agreement with Coastal Express Shuttle to operate a Ford Transit 350 in the city. Taxi franchises are required to pay a $200 fee as well as maintain an active business license at a minimum cost of $135 a year.
• Approved a text change in garage setbacks from 35 to 40 feet so two vehicles can be parked in the driveway without overhanging the sidewalk.
• Considered a zoning change for Raley Farms subdivision on a 162-acre parcel on the north side of Coastal Gateway Boulevard or the former County Road 8.