Johnston Ambulance Service (JAS), the largest private ambulance provider in North Carolina, ceased their operations yesterday with seemingly less than 12 hours notice. This is the video report from WRAL:
Chief of Operations Keith Hayes said, “The closure is permanent and it included all offices statewide.”
Hayes pointed out the decision to close was financially based adding JAS bills for services provided and has not been able to sufficiently collect from insurance companies, the government and other payees.
Interestingly, The Daily Record also reported this (added emphasis my own):
Josh Holloman, assistant director and EMS division chief with Johnston County Emergency Services, said in addition to JAS, the county also contracts with North State Medical Transport…
…Mr. Holloman said he feels confident the three ambulance companies can handle a good portion of the non-emergency transports, however the county is prepared to use 911 ambulances to transport patients until the private contractors can fully ramp up service.
In a year that has seen northeast regional provider Transcare shutter their operations and international provider Falck withdraw from the state of Pennsylvania, this shouldn’t be terribly surprising news. The affect on communities is rarely realized until after the actual closure and then it is almost never documented. The fact that Johnston County is ready to use their 911 resources to transport the non-emergency work is excellent planning.
In my opinion should the current trend of slow, inadequate, or no compensation for private agencies continue then other 911 providers (most often the tax supported ones) will be forced to provide the exact same mixed service. I actually don’t see this as a possibility, I see it as the reality of the future of EMS. Sure it may not happen in the next 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years but I believe it is an inevitability.
The closure of JAS is an estimated loss of 400 jobs. Our thoughts are with our brothers and sisters affected by this sudden loss of employment and we wish them all the best in finding the ability to support themselves and their families.