Rural/Metro to close operations in 30 Ind. communities

The company is restructuring, but hasn't yet confirmed which centers will be shut down


By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Area hospitals say they are not sure what to make of Rural/Metro Corp.'s announcement to end ambulance services in some Indiana communities.

"We typically use Seals," said Brandy Hill, a marketing and community relations coordinator at Community Hospital Anderson. "We don't know how this will affect us since they have not determined which centers they will be closing."

According to its website, the Arizona-based company provides services to almost 700 communities in 21 states. On Monday, officials announced operations in 30 communities across Indiana would cease, but details on which communities were unavailable.

Attempts to contact officials about providing services in Anderson and Madison County were also unsuccessful.

A woman who answered the phone at the company's Indianapolis headquarters said Mark Lashley, who is listed as a division senior vice president for the company, was traveling around the state to talk with employees about the company's announcement.

St. Vincent Anderson Regional contracts with several providers including Rural Metro to provide emergency transportation, but officials do not know if the company is leaving the area.

"We will be assessing our transportation arrangements to ensure our patients have the services they need," said Kathi Wasilewski, director of the Emergency Department at St.Vincent Anderson Regional.

Rural/Metro said the decision stems from low transport volumes in rural areas, changing health care and low Medicaid reimbursement rates, which created a difficult business environment.

The company is restructuring to improve contracts with Indiana communities and said contracts in affected areas will end within the terms of their contracts. Martinsville officials say the company is ending its services within 60 days.

"Transitioning out of these select Indiana markets, which represent a non-material total of Rural/Metro's overall transport volume, allows Rural/Metro to continue focusing on areas where it can efficiently provide optimal service and patient care," the company said in a statement.

Rural/Metro plans to continue to serve high volume areas within the state.

"Our core mission is to provide quality community health services that encompass long-term stability, innovation, and exceptional care," the company said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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©2014 The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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