Texas hospital district cancels EMS contract with FD over performance

The Quinlan Volunteer Fire Department has had trouble meeting country and city requirements


Brad Kellar
The Herald Banner

GREENVILLE, Texas — The Hunt Memorial Hospital District has canceled its contract with the Quinlan Volunteer Fire Department.

A statement from the district was released:

The city of Quinlan canceled its contract with the Quinlan Volunteer Fire Department in October, and that was also because of performance issues.
The city of Quinlan canceled its contract with the Quinlan Volunteer Fire Department in October, and that was also because of performance issues. (Photo/Quinlan Volunteer Fire Department)

"On Monday, April 4, 2022, the Hunt County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board (EMSAB) recommended canceling funding of the Quinlan Volunteer Fire Department (QVFD) by the Hunt Memorial Hospital District due to performance issues. Quinlan VFD was notified of this change, which went into effect on April 4."

In September 2021, EMSAB and the Hunt County Fire Association, working jointly, reviewed the response rate of the QVFD and made the department aware of a 90-day evaluation period to show improvement. QVFD was then reevaluated on January 1, 2022, and provided with an additional 90-day evaluation period. As of April 1 QVFD had not shown improvement, month to month, in their response rate to emergency calls.

The City of Quinlan canceled its contract with QVFD in October 2021, also due to performance issues, and arranged with Cash Volunteer Fire Department to cover calls inside Quinlan City limits.

The Hunt Memorial Hospital District sets aside funding each year for the 14 first responder Emergency Medical Services departments in Hunt County. Funding is based on the level of expertise in each department such as certifications in Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support, Emergency Rescue, etc., plus call volumes.

The EMSAB group is an oversight body made up of representatives of Hunt Regional Healthcare, American Medical Response, Hunt County Fire Association, Hunt County Emergency Management, and the Greenville Fire Department.

The Hunt County Fire Association is comprised of the 14 chiefs of each of the first responder Emergency Medical Services departments plus Air Evac and Hunt County Emergency Medical Services.

EMSAB and Hunt County Fire Association arranged with first responder Emergency Medical Services departments from Cash, Union Valley, Tawakoni South and Tawakoni, to take over the calls previously covered by the Quinlan Volunteer Fire Department outside of the Quinlan City limits.

The Hunt County Commissioners Court voted at the end of January to award the Quinlan Fire Department with a new agreement, which would provide it with additional funding from the county.

The commissioners approved Hunt County Fire Protection Agreement Contracts in October 2021 with the Greenville, Commerce, Lone Oak, Tawakoni, Tawakoni South, Quinlan, Cash, Union Valley, Caddo Mills, Celeste, Merit, Wolfe City and Campbell fire departments.

The Quinlan Fire Department was the only one to not reach a guideline set by the county of responding to 75% of the calls to which it was dispatched during the previous 90 days, instead only responding to 61% during the period.

The department had since met the criteria, but County Judge Bobby Stovall said there were still some conditions that had to be met.

"We added some red line stuff," Stovall said of the agreement, which would cover six months, rather than the one-year contracts presented to the other departments.

Should the Quinlan Fire Department not live up to the conditions, Stovall said "we can give you a 30-day notice to terminate the contract."

Stovall said he expects all of the departments to work together and avoid the reported infighting which has been occurring.

The county's dispatcher was notified at that time the Quinlan Fire Department should be included on fire and emergency calls in Quinlan.

"Cash will be the first to be called," Stovall said, noting the department had reached a separate contract with the City of Quinlan. "You will be the second to be toned out."

The new contract goes into effect on Feb. 1 and is pending the Quinlan Fire Department's formal acceptance.

The new agreements provide double the financial assistance for the county's volunteer fire departments and in exchange will require the departments to provide more detailed reports of their calls and expenses.

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(c)2022 The Herald Banner (Greenville, Texas)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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