SC county considers starting own EMS agency to decrease response time

With increased response times due to a closed hospital, Marlboro County may establish their own EMS agency

By EMS1 Staff

MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. — A county that is facing increased response times after losing a hospital is considering launching their own EMS agency.

WBTW reported that Marlboro County lost its only hospital in 2015, increasing the strain on first responders.

"Small communities across the country are losing hospitals at a rapid pace and we understand we're not special or different," County Administrator Ron Munnerlyn said.

An EMS task force was created in 2018 to try and solve the issue.

"Average response times are creeping up, but we also noticed that just the sheer time to transport someone to a hospital outside the county added minutes to a response time of any call," Munnerlyn said.

The task force put forth the idea to create an EMS agency funded by the county and replace the contracted Marlboro County Rescue.

"The task force's report and the recommendations were that [our own EMS agency] would be the best way to serve the citizens, considering the situation we have with no hospital," Munnerlyn said.

Officials would fund the agency with a property tax increase to generate $1.1 million, along with a hospital trust that gave a $300,000 grant to the county for the agency.

"We'll begin recruiting for positions here in the next 30 to 60 days to actually start the program," Munnerlyn said.

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