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Ambulance disputes cut service providers

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle is now being served by one main ambulance provider following the decision by two others not to renew their emergency licenses.
Questions regarding the status of American Ambulance and County EMS followed an incident in September when an emergency call was placed from Barkley Bridge Elementary School. Ambulance services are required to notify dispatchers when they are out of service and thus unable to respond to an emergency call. In this case, however, city officials said neither American or County EMS notified they were out of service in spite of being on other calls. Decatur EMS was contacted but before they could respond, Lifecare, Hartselle’s third ambulance provider, was able to put together a team to respond to the crisis.
Lifecare had previously notified dispatchers it would be out of service. The student was transported via helicopter to Huntsville, where he was treated and released.
Then, a month later, city officials said a similar incident occurred related to a 911 call.
As a result of the non-notifications, American and County EMS were placed on 30-day suspensions. Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he offered to stagger the suspensions so they could be served at different times.
However, following the news of the suspensions, American and County EMS opted not to renew their licenses to respond to emergency calls in the city. They will still be able to respond to non-emergency calls, such as transporting patients.
Tankersley said the city is considering seeking proposal from other entities interested in providing ambulance services in the city. Despite the exit of the two services, Tankersley said he sees no problem with interruption of services.

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