2009-10-21 / Front Page

‘New’ ambulance service gets the green light

Flint-based Emergency MED Stat to begin service in county

Emergency MED Stat has operated non-emergency calls in Lapeer County for years, transporting dialysis patients. Emergency MED Stat has operated non-emergency calls in Lapeer County for years, transporting dialysis patients. LAPEER — On Friday, the Lapeer County Medical Control Authority Board approved the application of Emergency MED Stat LLC for ambulance service operation in the county. A 60-day period now begins during which the ambulance firm submits its paperwork to the state and establishes a base in the county.

"They'll be held to standards of quality and protocols as all our ambulance companies are in Lapeer County," said Dr. Ken Parsons, chairman of the Medical Control Authority Board. Parsons said that the company was carefully reviewed over the last couple of months, and recommended for approval by the Medical Control advisory committee.

Linda Belcher, owner of Emergency MED Stat LLC, said that the company will establish a base in Lapeer County in the next 60 days. She said that the company has spent a lot of time in Lapeer, and has been looking at the west side of the county.

“We are looking at our options,” Belcher said. “We have not procured a signed lease.”

Emergency MED Stat headquarters are at 3538 Flushing Road in Flint. The firm has operated in Genesee County since 2004.

Belcher said that the company has operated non-emergency calls in Lapeer County for years, transporting dialysis patients. In June this year, the state changed the protocol, making it a violation to perform those transfers without a base in the county.

Belcher says the company will be able to continue with those transfers, but now, with a local base, they will also be available for emergency calls. The station will have an Advanced Life Support rig as well as a transfer rig.

“We’re going to be there for the community,” says Belcher. “We’re very excited to be in the county and looking forward to serving the community.”

Ambulances are dispatched according to which available rig is closest to the call. Parsons points out, "The more bases you have, the quicker the response."

The Lapeer County EMS Authority serves most of the county. It was created in 1997 when Lapeer, Imlay City and North Branch volunteer ambulance agencies were merged. The Lapeer County EMS authority is now fully staffed with paid employees and is governed by a board of directors with representation from 15 municipalities in the county.

Lapeer County EMS has a total of 11 rigs in the county, operating out of four bases. They maintain bases in North Branch, Imlay City, Calhoun Street in Lapeer, and Davison Road in Lapeer. Their administrative offices are also located on Davison Rd. Those offices are slated to move to the former Handyman Outlet building on Genesee Road early next year.

Galland Burnham, executive director of Lapeer County EMS, recently expressed concerns about having more agencies in the county than the call volume could support. He added, “It’s hard to speculate on what’s going to happen.”

Patriot Ambulance Service came to the county in March this year. They have a station in Columbiaville, mainly serving Marathon and surrounding townships. They normally have one Advanced Life Support rig available, but can provide backup with another.

Jim Grady, director of operations at Patriot Ambulance at the Columbiaville station, speculated that the new firm may position its base in a location that is distant from existing bases. He said such a move would “definitely benefit the people in the area.”

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