Fire department to take over Shelby Co. ambulance services in 20 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fire department to take over Shelby Co. ambulance services in 2017

(Source: WMC Action News 5 archives) (Source: WMC Action News 5 archives)

Ambulance services in Shelby County will be managed by the county fire department starting in 2017.

The Shelby County Commission voted to switch from having American Medical Response (AMR) operating the ambulances to having Shelby County Fire Department in charge.

AMR asked for a change in its contract, which reportedly would have doubled how much Shelby County had to pay for ambulance services.

By using Shelby County Fire Department personnel and buying the necessary equipment, county officials said the plan is almost $600,000 less than what they would have paid AMR. Still, the change will require tax payers to pay a 12 percent increase in the county's fire fee.

Commissioners said the fire fee increase will mean county residents will be paying about $3 more per month.

That increase, along with a loan from the county's general fund, will help the county purchase the needed 12 EMS vehicles.

"It makes sense to do this as a public service, if it will ensure safety and urgency in life or death situations," Liz Coroza said.

AMR released a statement saying they will work to ensure there is a smooth and efficient transition and thanked Shelby County citizens.

“While we are disappointed with the County’s decision, we are committed to providing responsive, high-quality EMS services throughout the remainder of our contract. We will work closely with Shelby County Fire to efficiently transfer services at the end of 2016. AMR will remain in the area and focus our services on supporting our hospital and health system customers.

We want to thank the citizens of Shelby County for the opportunity to serve their healthcare needs.”

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