Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

June 21, 2013

Alto City Council calls special meeting to discuss ambulance service

Amy Brocato Pearson
Jacksonville Daily Progress

ALTO —  The Alto City Council will hold a special meeting Monday night to discuss the continuation of ambulance service to the southern end of Cherokee County.

The cities of Alto and Wells voted in April to discontinue ETMC EMS service to their cities when faced with having to subsidize part of the rural ambulance service.

"The regional manager of ETMC will be coming Monday night," said Alto City Secretary Cindy Murray. "They're trying to come up with a solution."

Neal Franklin, general manager of ETMC EMS, explained Thursday 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."

Since April, multiple meetings have taken place between ETMC EMS, the two cities and Cherokee County.

"We still have our contract with the county, so we hope to work with all three entities to get something else going," Franklin said.

No one from the city of Wells was available for comment Thursday.