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Home > Topics > EMS Management

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.

13 WTHR Indianapolis

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.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service
©2014 The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.)

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Alex Wharrie Alex Wharrie Tuesday, August 19, 2014 2:29:42 PM I'm sure some fire service will do it now at 3 to 5 times the cost.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 4:42:29 PM When will people realize that the Fire vs EMS war has got to stop? We are all out there SUPPOSED to be providing the best care we can possibly provide, no matter what agency we are affiliated with. This kind of baseless argument is what causes the war to go on and on, ad infinitum. And it also causes a lot of the on scene "issues" when working partners in dual role response on scenes...CAN'T. (i.e. at accident scenes where both fire and private sector respond) in over 35 years I've known some great fire-based EMTs and medics, and equally good private sector EMTs and medics. I've also known some horrendously bad fire-based EMTs and medics, and equally bad private sector EMTs and medics. The agency doesn't make the better EMT or medic, their ability to continue to learn and adapt to new care practices does. If this story comes as a surprise then you haven't been around EMS very long. This is a classic example where mega private EMS agencies can't always make it either. In the 70's and early 80's there was a multistate service called MSI based out of OR. Looked great on paper and had pretty graphics on nice trucks, but they couldn't make it work either. In R/M's case they have exceeded their capabilities and also been caught several times bilking medicare in the millions, had to repay it, and have had to file bankruptcy to "restructure." But, many other agencies have been caught doing the same thing, both public and private. There will most likely be more R/M operations shutting down too. And in their wake, often comes AMR right in behind, trading one mega ambulance company for another. When the bottom dollar determines the service provided there will always be problems. In some instances, fire-based EMS can provide the better service. In others, the private sector can. If not an administrator, then the field personnel's job is to leave the staffing models to the citizens and administrators, quit bellyaching, and go out and be the best provider possible.
Alex Wharrie Alex Wharrie Tuesday, August 19, 2014 5:43:25 PM Maybe it's time for a name change from Fire-based EMS to EMS-based fire service. After all there are more medical calls than fires (kidding). I'm just trying to get people to start some dialogue to straighten out this mess called pre-hospital care. We are public servants and we need to be responsible for public safety by not over responding to medical calls with 6 to 8 responders when its not a time critical call. We also need to be finically responsible in the delivery of pre-hospital care. Something throughout North American we are poor at on both accounts.
Richard Dietz Richard Dietz Tuesday, August 19, 2014 8:04:13 PM Its indiana. U need one ambulance for the whole state. Call volume will Probly Be one a day. Que banjo: da ding ding ding ding
Kevin Chaffee Kevin Chaffee Tuesday, August 19, 2014 8:55:48 PM Volunteer services still bill for transport so don't say you do it for nothing.
Gabriel Thomas Gabriel Thomas Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:21:55 AM I think there has been some pretty good comments so far. Unfortunately things have to get worse before they get better. I agree that everyone (fire & EMS) need to work together in order to make the system more efficient. I had worked as a flight medic in central Indiana before leaving EMS completely after 16 years. Yes the changes in billing and call volume for some is a killer I agree but the whole system needs fixed. Many good people will end up looking for work elsewhere or may not get a job for a while. I'm not against a fire-based EMS system using civilian EMTs and medics. Hospitals are cutting back in some cases with their ambulance services and some private services are closing up or being bought out.
Robert Thurman Robert Thurman Wednesday, August 20, 2014 1:41:20 PM Davidson County Rescue Squad does not.
Willie Stoffregen Willie Stoffregen Wednesday, August 20, 2014 6:50:04 PM Healthcare law coming back to bite
Tom Nelson Tom Nelson Thursday, August 21, 2014 2:18:09 PM and it begins I predicted that many ambulance services especially in rural areas are going to start going away due to obamacare
Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson Friday, August 22, 2014 8:20:28 AM Rediculous uninformed and uneducated comments. This has nothing to do with Fire vs EMS. This is a company that made bad financial decisions and treated it's employees terrible in this regional area.
Ken Skaggs Ken Skaggs Tuesday, September 09, 2014 1:37:24 PM And MULTIPLE employees in Central Florida didn't get their paychecks on 9/5/2014, with no resolution in site.

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