East Texas Medical Center EMS announced Tuesday it has worked out a new ambulance service contractual agreement following discussions with Cherokee County Commissioners.
“ETMC EMS will subcontract with Blanket EMS out of Huntsville to cover the cities of Alto and Wells and southern Cherokee County effective July 16,” read a statement issued by ETMC. “The county, both cities and ETMC EMS are contributing to the cost of using Blanket EMS. ETMC EMS will serve as a backup to Blanket EMS and will dispatch their calls.”
Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis could not immediately be reached to comment on the development Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this summer, ETMC EMS had announced that Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance cuts had resulted in the ETMC Regional Healthcare System reducing spending by 5 to 7 percent this year.
“For many years, ETMC has been able to provide ambulance service in many communities for free or for a small fee, but with the changes in reimbursements we could no longer afford to provide this service,” Neal Franklin, general manager for ETMC EMS, said in the same emailed statement.
Effective July 16, ETMC EMS will also no longer station a dedicated ambulance in the cities of Gladewater, Frankston and Van.
Additionally, Champion EMS will take over Gladewater; Frankston and Van are in negotiations with other EMS service providers to take over these areas, according to the report.