Coastal Health Systems of Brevard was formed in 1988 by Parrish Medical Center, Wuesthoff Memorial Hospital and Cape Canaveral Hospital to establish a non-emergency, interfacility ambulance service that could provide high quality ambulance transports for their patients without having to individually operate their own unique ambulance transportation services. Having had similar success with a co-op laundry plant serving all of the hospitals, the hospitals felt that establishing these types of jointly owned operations was cost-efficient and allowed for control of the direction the company would take without the need for direct support or management.
To provide oversight and direction, a board of directors was formed and registered in the State of Florida as a 501 C 3 not-for-profit agency. Articles of Incorporation and corporate By-laws were created as well. The board was comprised of the three “member” organizations noted above and each member had three seats on the board. An executive committee was comprised of the Chief Executives of the three hospitals who rotated the chairmanship of the board annually and in turn. Each executive committee member would then appoint two members, normally board members of their hospitals to round out the three directors from each member hospital. This organization remained intact for 22 years until October 2010, when Wuesthoff had to withdraw their membership due the sale of Wuesthoff to a for-profit hospital system, Health Management Associates (HMA), that would not qualify for membership under the articles of incorporation. Discussions were initiated in search of a legal means to have the new hospital system (through a charitable organization/foundation under its control) rejoin the Coastal Board of Directors, but an appropriate means to do this has not yet been realized.
For approximately the first 10 years, Coastal operated with a geographical area that began at the northern limits of Brevard County and ran south to the Pineda Causeway. At that time, there was another ambulance company serving south Brevard, Harbor City Volunteer Ambulance Service (HCVAS), that provided both emergency and non-emergency transports. Around 1998, HCVAS had their licenses to operate rescinded by the Brevard County Commission due to professional problems and Brevard County Fire-Rescue (BCFR) assumed operational responsibility for all emergency transports and Coastal was granted a new license to deliver non-emergency ambulance services throughout the entire county. This relationship has remained in force since it was initially established, and has performed superbly.
In 2000, the Coastal Board of Directors hired William McCarthy as its President/CEO and he remains the senior executive of Coastal as of the date of this history, December 2011. In his time as president, McCarthy has lead the company through many positive changes that have expanded its areas of service to include Osceola County and Indian River County. The company became nationally accredited in 2009 through the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and has maintained this accreditation to date. Coastal is also a member in good standing of the American Ambulance Association and the Florida Ambulance Association as well as numerous other professional and community organizations. Coastal’s ambulance, dispatch and maintenance employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, negotiated every three years, with the International Association of EMT’s and Paramedics. This agreement has been a very positive one, with no grievances or issues between the parties.
Coastal operates under an exclusive franchise agreement and Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN), negotiated by the Director (Fire Chief), Brevard County Fire-Rescue and approved by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners. The agreement is very detailed, providing specifics regarding standards of operations and mutual aid, details unique services that must be rendered, cites very specific performance and response time standards and mandates numerous statistical reports that are provided to the county. While this agreement is fairly unique, it is also a very comprehensive agreement that guarantees the county has a very reliable partner in quality and it gives Coastal the comfort to make major purchases and upgrade systems and equipment without concern that they might be forced to compete with a new provider that is not burdened by such detailed requirements. In short, it has been a model for the delivery of quality ambulance transports where the BCFR transport units deliver superb 911 support to the county while Coastal delivers equally high-quality non-emergency ambulance services.
Coastal operates 20 ambulances and support vehicles, delivering Advanced and Basic Life Support transport services as well as Specialty Care Transports of patients with very significant complications and clinical needs. A staff of 80-85 personnel performs all transports, dispatching, administrative and billing functions.