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National EMS cuts impact East Texas

National EMS cuts impact East Texas
Longview News-Journal

POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 11:00am

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 11:14am

Seria Dassing knows having an ambulance two buildings away can’t guarantee her safety. But just knowing it’s there is comforting.

“It has always been a comfort to me when my mother comes to visit that there is ambulance service two doors down. That concerns me if it has to come from Gilmer or Tyler or Longview because that increases the time a lot,” said Dassing, who lives in the 300 block of N. Pearl Street, near the Emergency Medical Services station slated for closure today.

Big Sandy, along with a host of other East Texas towns, were notified this spring by East Texas Medical Center EMS that it would cease its free services July 15. ETMC EMS operates a fleet of 107 ambulances and three helicopters across 17 East Texas counties.

Beginning today Big Sandy, Van, Gladewater and southern Cherokee County will incur un-budgeted expenses to subsidize service or their citizens will have no choice but to wait for potentially life-saving medical help from an ambulance stationed miles away.

The changes are blamed on cutbacks in Medicaid reimbursement for EMS service.

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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