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First Response takes over for Crossroads

Published 4:51pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014

First Response EMS of Decatur has  taken over emergency ambulance service in Hartselle and Falkville after Crossroads EMS closed its doors Wednesday.

Mayor Don Hall said First Response went in service around noon Wednesday, which is when Crossroads EMS was supposed to shut down operations. Hall said Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton and Falkville Fire Chief Chris Free worked out an agreement Wednesday morning with First Response EMS.

“They have agreed to provide one ambulance for Hartselle, one for Falkville and one that will service both communities,” Hall said. “We have offered to let them park a vehicle in Hartselle at a fire station to allow them to stretch their legs and keep them from having to spend a 24-hour shift in the ambulance.”

Hall said Shelton will likely present two options for ambulance service to the Hartselle City Council at its next work session, which is scheduled for June 9 at 7 p.m. Shelton told Hall that First Response has agreed to finish out the remaining eight months on Crossroads EMS’s contract with the city.

Hall said the council could choose to obtain proposals to choose a new provider now or allow First Response to finish out the contract and then seek proposals for an ambulance provider at the end of the contract.

Hall said the city was informed Tuesday that Crossroads EMS would shut down operations at midnight Tuesday due to financial reasons. Hall then asked Crossroads owner Candi Hayes to maintain operations until Wednesday at noon to give the city time to consider its options.

Hayes said the reason why they decided to close was due to non-payments from insurance and government health care entities.

“The number that Medicare and Medicaid owes us in six figures,” Hayes said. “The most we’ve recently received from them is $3,000. It’s tough to operate a small business when you only receive that much.”

Hayes thanked all of her employees and the community for their support over the last two years that Crossroads has been in business.

“I really hate it for our employees,” Hayes said. “That’s been the toughest part of this is that we’re having to let our employees go. It’s a sad day for all of us.”

Hayes said they and other medical services have been severely affected by the non-payment since the government shutdown in October 2013.

“You almost have to have really deep pockets to run an ambulance service or any kind of medical service with the way Obamacare is right now,” Hayes said. “It’s almost impossible to operate a small business when you don’t receive timely payments.”

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