Tyler, Texas (ETMC) — ETMC EMS has worked out a new contract agreement 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. 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.
ETMC EMS announced earlier this summer that because of cuts in reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System is reducing spending by five to seven 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,“ explained Neal Franklin, general manager for ETMC EMS.
Effective July 16, ETMC EMS will also no longer station a dedicated ambulance in the cities of Gladewater, Frankston and Van. Champion EMS will take over Gladewater; Frankston and Van are in negotiations withother EMS service providers to take over these areas.
“We are pleased we have been able to work with these communities to find EMS coverage for them,” said Franklin.