Morgan County Commission Studies County-Wide EMS System

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - The Morgan County Commission is now getting involved in the effort to secure a reliable ambulance service for Falkville and Hartselle. Commission Chairman Ray Long says portions of the county could benefit from having a county-wide EMS system.

The first company to go under was County EMS not long after funding issues cost it the contracts to serve both Hartselle and Falkville. Crossroads Ambulance won those agreements but a year later went out of business citing slow reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.

Decatur's First Response Ambulance Service stepped in and offered to cover the areas until something more permanent could be worked out, but now it's been replaced by non-profit Samaritan Ambulance Service. County Commission Chairman Ray Long says its time to look at a county-wide system.

"My idea for the thing would be to come up with some way to bid it out and let somebody bid on the services and whoever gets it give you a three-year contract and you have the county area," Long says.

The bid winner would serve most, if not all, of the county along with the towns of Hartselle and Falkville. long says he's not in favor of subsidizing the bid winner saying government should stay out of free enterprise. He says he believes giving exclusive rights to one ambulance service throughout most of the county would make the system profitable.

Chairman Long says he want to study other areas before writing a bid proposal. Meanwhile, Samaritan Ambulance service has agreed to cover Hartselle and Falkville for the next 45 days. Long says he's hopeful they'll have something ready by then.