This post is part of the Wonk Room’s exclusive investigation of the private contractors working under BP’s control to respond to the foreign oil giant’s Gulf Coast disaster. The results of the investigation are being tracked at BP’s Contractor Army.
Although the public face of worker medical care has been the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state agencies such as the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the real work is being done by a private company working for BP and BP’s subcontractors. Anyone seeking treatment by the federal mobile medical unit run by HHS in Venice, LA, is “pre-screened by a private company hired by BP — Acadian Ambulance Services.”
Acadian Companies is an employee-owned company based in Lafayette, LA that runs Acadian Ambulance Service, the largest private rural ambulance service in the nation. Acadian’s subsidiaries — also including the health training service Safety Management Systems, the One Gulf call center, the Acadian Air Med Services helicopter fleet — have been deeply involved in the response to both the BP explosion and the cleanup.
Acadian’s Air Med, the One Gulf Offshore Emergency Call Center and Acadian Ambulance “played a key role in rescue efforts” after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, “transporting 18 of the workers injured in the blast to local New Orleans area and Alabama hospitals.”
As a subcontractor to Oil Mop, Acadian’s Safety Management Systems established a Mobile Medical Command Center in Fourchon headed by Bob Black. Subcontracting to US Environmental Services, Safety Management Systems and Acadian Ambulance established a second Mobile Medical Command Center in Pascagoula, MS. USES have “also contracted SMS paramedics Tony Mooney and Gerald Chauvin on a pair of cleanup vessels based out of Venice, LA.”
In a telephone conversation, Acadian vice president of public relations and marketing Keith Simon refused to answer the Wonk Room’s questions about his company’s activities. Simon cited the incident command structure which he said funnels all information through designated public information officers.