DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – One company has a monopoly on ambulance service in Decatur now, that after DEMSI abruptly went out of business late Friday afternoon.
Morgan County 911 Director Ryan Welty confirms DEMSI’s final vehicle was taken out of service at 5PM. WHNT News 19 went to DEMSI’s business office in Decatur about an hour later and found no one at the locked building and a fleet of ambulances parked in an unlocked storage area in back.
The director of First Response Ambulance, now Decatur’s only EMS provider, David Childers, says he was notified of the shutdown Friday afternoon and says his company has been ready for weeks to take up the slack. He says several new vehicles are being placed into service to provide more EMS coverage than Decatur has ever had in the past.
DEMSI filed for bankruptcy earlier this week, just days after the company’s business manager told Decatur’s EMS Committee the company had resolved on-going financial problems with the renewal of an agreement to file Medicaid claims.
The committee held a specially called meeting Feb. 21 to address complaints that DEMSI had not been in compliance with the city’s ambulance ordinance since employees walked off the job Feb. 7. Several employees told WHNT News 19 their paychecks were typically late and often bounced after they were deposited.
Tessa Green urged the committee not to revoke the company’s certificate to operate saying they were in the process of resolving their financial problems and wanted to continue to serve the area. The committee voted 3-to-2 to recommend the city council revoke DEMSI’s license.
WHNT News 19 learned Friday afternoon the EMS Committee’s recommendation was not on the agenda for Monday’s Decatur City Council meeting. A spokesperson in the council’s office was unable to explain why.
Dr. Roger Stanmore, of Madison, who owns DEMSI, also filed bankruptcy earlier this week along with a second ambulance service he owns, Gadsden/Etowah EMS Inc.