Williston Rescue Squad, source of scandal as of late, ceasing operations at end of month
The Williston Rescue Squad, the source of two scandals that led to the arrest of a former employee and an $800,000.00 fine from the federal government, is ceasing operations on Saturday, March 29.
Barnwell County Councilman Keith Sloan, who is also on the county’s healthcare committee said, “It’s sad.” He also said it was “virtually impossible” for the emergency transportation provider to continue financially.
Director Phil Clarke said that until April 1, “We’re going to continue to operate like we have in the past. None of that (service) is going to change.”
The Barnwell County Council threw their support behind Williston Rescue late last year, despite the fact that the company was hit with an $800,000.00 fine.
“We obviously knew there were risks in that,” said Councilman Sloan, but they were hopeful for a financial recovery for WRS.
That recovery has not happened, and Williston Rescue was hit with another scandal just weeks later, when one of their former employees was arrested and charged with being the mastermind an all-women gang assassination of her husband, who was the fire chief of Branchville.
Despite all of this, Councilman Sloan said that he expects a “seamless transition” from Williston Rescue to MedShore Ambulance Service, which will take over WRS’s duties on Sunday, March 30.
MedShore originated in Anderson in 1976. That ambulance fleet is operated by Greg Shore, the chief executive officer.
MedShore already has a contract with Southern Palmetto Hospital, which was formerly known as Barnwell County Hospital (the medical center is located about 50 feet from Polly Best Center).
Mr. Shore said his company, which has 78 ambulances across the state, will work with Williston Rescue in the transition and will likely hire some current WRS EMTs and paramedics to stay on in the county. He also said MedShore will bring its own equipment to the county but may purchase the assets and property of Williston Rescue.
MedShore will have four around-the-clock stations in the county with an ambulance at each one and a couple of non-emergency vehicles in operation too, Mr. Shore said. There will be protocols in place to determine where an emergency patient is taken – whether it’s to Southern Palmetto Hospital or somewhere else like Aiken Regional Medical Centers – to ensure they get the appropriate care, he said. But, he added, patients will always have the choice on where they go.
Mr. Shore said there will be a partnership between MedShore, the hospital and the county to provide good, quality care for the residents of Barnwell County.