HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (HEMSI) Board of Directors approved an agreement on Tuesday to join the Huntsville Hospital Health System.

The two entities announced the approval of the agreement on Tuesday. HEMSI board members had signed a letter of intent to officially enter talks with Huntsville Hospital about the possible merger in August.

Jeff Samz, CEO of Huntsville Hospital Health System, says this merger will allow them to cover and provide emergency medical services for more people across the Tennessee Valley.

“Our new relationship with HEMSI will help improve emergency medical transportation throughout north Alabama, especially in rural areas,” Samz said. “By working together with our ambulance services in Limestone, Morgan, Marshall, Jackson, Colbert and Franklin Counties, we can make a difference in reducing ambulance response times for patients.”

Samz says that joining with HEMSI will allow them to standardize vehicles and equipment and build a better system for patients.

Ambulance patients will continue to choose what hospital they want to provide their emergency care, Samz and David Blair, President of HEMSI’s board of directors, said.

Blair says the nonprofit ambulance service is excited to see how this opportunity benefits those in the community.

“We are excited at the opportunities ahead of us working as part of Huntsville Hospital Health System. We believe that we will be able to not only provide the current vital EMS to our community, but with this merger, we will have the opportunity to expand our EMS services to our community,” Blair said.

The merger will be effective January 1, 2024.