Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

June 26, 2013

No ambulance service decision for city of Alto

Amy Brocato Pearson
Jacksonville Daily Progress

ALTO — The Alto City Council postponed a decision about ambulance service Monday night until they hear what the Wells City Council plans to do about the same issue.

No decision was made at a special City Council meeting about how to provide ambulance service to the city, said City Secretary Cindy Murray.

"We will reconvene July 9, after Wells meets on July 8, to talk more about what to do," she said.

The cities, along with Cherokee County, are trying to decide how to provide area residents with ambulance service after deciding to discontinue service with ETMC EMS in April.

Neal Franklin, general manager of ETMC EMS, explained that with cuts in healthcare in general, and specifically losing Medicare funding, the EMS service needed to be subsidized in rural areas in order to continue providing service.

"With those returns and funds not coming in, we're faced with some challenges providing service in rural areas," Franklin said. "ETMC had covered our losses but can't any longer. So the cities decided to terminate."

Franklin presented the Alto City Council with options at Monday's meeting.

"We need to check into the legalities of it all," Murray said, "Including what costs might be incurred by our citizens. We need to wait and see what the county whats to do as well."

Franklin had previously mentioned a "package" deal for Cherokee County, Alto, and Wells, as ETMC EMS still has a contract with the county.