Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 13, 2013

City tables transport request

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens City Council tabled a final reading on Monday of an ordinance granting non-emergency ambulance transportation in the city until the service is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The council approved a first reading of the ordinance on April 8, granting the request of Impel Ambulance Service to transfer patients to and from doctor’s offices, dialysis centers, rehab facilities and other destinations including the hospital. Impel officials said the service will cut down on some of the wait time patients have experienced in getting to such facilities.

City Attorney Conor Bateman recommended the issue be tabled until the license is granted.

“The application process is ongoing,” Bateman said. “I asked the department today, specifically, timewise, how long they expected it will be until a final decision is reached. The department indicated it would be 30 to 60 days before the department made a decision on whether to approve the request.”

The Impel application to set up shop in the city has caught the attention of East Texas Medical Center EMS. Neil Franklin, the General Manager for ETMC EMS, said at a May 8 council workshop that a company making non-emergency ambulance runs may force ETMC to come before the city and request a subsidy to make up for the loss or revenue.