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Future of Harrison County ambulance service uncertain
Updated: Wednesday, September 25 2013, 08:03 PM EDT
By Rich Pierce
Harrison County, OH
September 25, 2013
The future of ambulance service in Harrison County is in question. The Harrison Community Hospital provides much of the service and is now losing money because of it.
Harrison County EMS relies on 12 volunteer departments. Because they are volunteer, they cannot respond to every call. The community hospital then fills in the gaps.
Harrison County Commissioner Don Bethel also sits on the board of directors at the hospital. He said they cannot afford to continue filling the service gaps.
“A decision has to be made moving forward. How the EMS and hospital are going to work together to solve what could become a crisis at the beginning of the year,” Bethel said.
Doug Crabtree is president of the Harrison County EMS Association. He said a committee is working on a solution.
“We’re trying to get back to where the volunteers are able to provide that service – maybe augment that with paid services,” Crabtree said.
Both men said volunteers cannot be made to do any more than they are already doing. That means they may need to contract out to private services. A solution is expected by mid-December.
“We don’t have a good solution. We are trying to find more volunteers. We may have to revamp EMS entirely,” Crabtree said.
“We trust they will come up with an acceptable plan in the best interest of the public obviously. The public has to come first,” Bethel said.