Ambulance Service Debate Heats Up in Athens

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There are clearly differing opinions when it comes to ambulance service in Limestone County.

"We just think if you have more than one ambulance service, it can't be a bad thing," said David Childers, Director of Operations for Med-Call of the Shoals.

"We do not need another ambulance provider in Limestone County," said Kelli Powers, Athens-Limestone Hospital CEO.

Childers appeared before the Athens City Council on Monday night.  He wanted permission to operate a second ambulance service in the city that would primarily handle non-emergency calls, but that didn't happen.

"We weren't expecting to be turned down here in the city of Athens. We weren't expecting the mud-slinging that occurred," said Childers. "We wanted to come in with a positive attitude. Choose to show positive features that we could do for the community and we wanted to leave here with a positive outcome."

The city council voted not to grant a franchise to the company.  Athens-Limestone Hospital CEO Kelli Powers agrees with the decision.

"We have been providing care to this community for over 38 years," said Powers.

Powers believes they are doing an excellent job meeting the needs of the community.

"We have all advanced life-support trucks, we keep our trucks up to date," said Powers. "We're a not-for-profit organization that provides care to everyone, no matter of their ability to pay or not."

But Childers said he is not giving up.

"We're just going to go back and look at the situation a little bit, maybe analyze the numbers and the statistics that you have here in the city of Athens and probably on the next time, we're going to come back and not only ask to do the basic life-support services and non-emergency, I think we're probably going to come back and try to operate under the advanced life support system here and answer 911 calls," said Childers.