Athens Review, Athens, Texas

April 10, 2013

Council OKs ambulance service

Impel to transport non-emergency patients

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance on Monday granting a Impel Ambulance Services a franchise to operate non-emergency service in the city.

Alicia Watkins and Sanford E. Watkins, M.D. requested the franchise to allow the company to transfer patients to and from doctor’s offices, dialysis centers, rehab facilities and other destinations. With five nursing homes, two assisted-living facilities and 13 home health providers, Sanford Watkins said the company can provide an effective and safe alternative to EMS, personal vehicle and nursing home transports.

“We’ve been embraced by this community so far, and this has been huge blessing for us, and we hope we can be a blessing to the city,” Sanford Watkins said

“It’s a niche that’s open where the need is not being met by the advance-life support services,” Sanford Watkins said. “We’re going to step in and see if we can cut down on the wait time, and get people where they need to be.”

Sanford Watkins said the facilities will contact Impel when a patient needs to be moved.

“Traditionally, in a city this size, the service is provided by a larger facility, and people have to be on a waiting list before they can be picked up at the nursing home,” Sanford Watkins said.

The fee charged by impel to pick up a passenger includes a flat fee, and an additional price per-mile. The pickup charge for a non-emergency patient in the city is $206.93, plus $7.09 per-mile.

In other action, the council approved an amendment to the lease agreement with Kiwanis Park authorizing the construction of a 2,100 square-foot splash pad. The 25-year agreement ends Dec. 31, 2034.  Under the terms of the agreement, the Kiwanis Club will perform all routine maintenance and repairs for the pad.

On the consent agenda, the council approved items that had been discussed at previous meetings, and given first-reading approval. Those include:

• an ordinance rezoning the old Memorial Hospital property at 405 Lindsey St. to construction of an independent and assisted-living facility;

• an ordinance creating a site plan for a property on East Tyler Street to allow construction of an office and retail center; and

• an ordinance rezoning a property at 2621 U.S. Highway 175 East to allow Athens Christian Preparatory Academy to relocate there.