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Judge orders Pa. ambulance service to pay $339K to bank

Jeannette EMS had unexpectedly ended operations leaving city officials scrambling to find an EMS provider

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By Renatta Signorini

JEANETTE, Pa. — A judgment against Jeannette EMS was issued Thursday to pay $339,904 to KeyBank for outstanding principal on a commercial line of credit, interest and late fees, according to court filings.

KeyBank filed the complaint this week outlining the line of credit, which was opened in July 1997 for $25,000 and ballooned over the years to $275,000 in 2008.

The remaining principal is $231,500. Interest amounts to $105,000 as of July 6. Late charges were about $3,500. The bank is seeking additional interest and late fees starting July 7.

The judgment was signed by Westmoreland County Prothonotary Gina O’Barto.

Jeannette EMS director of operations Randy Highlands could not be reached Friday.

The ambulance service was in business for 63 years before it shut down unexpectedly July 3. On Thursday, Mutual Aid EMS was selected by council members to provide ambulance service for city residents through the rest of 2023.

In the 10 days between the closure and Thursday’s vote, Mutual Aid and Penn Township Ambulance handled calls in Jeannette. City officials scrambled to get an interim plan in place after learning about the closure hours before it went into effect. Highlands previously pointed to insufficient funding and low insurance reimbursement rates as reasons for the closure.

The city provided Jeannette EMS with $1,000 monthly and that financial arrangement will continue for Mutual Aid, making Jeannette the first municipality to provide direct financial support to the Greensburg-based agency.

Jeannette EMS averaged 1,800 calls annually. Mutual Aid serves 33 municipalities, including Jeannette — 27 in Westmoreland County and five in Fayette. The agreement with the city will be re-evaluated toward the end of the year.

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EARLIER: Closure of Pa. ambulance service underscores insufficient funding of EMS