Local municipalities pivot after ambulance company pulls back service

Local News

It all started with an email sent to a number of local communities

NORTH LIMA, Ohio (WKBN) – A local ambulance service is discontinuing service to some communities.

It all started with an email sent to a number of local communities from owners of Life Fleet Ambulance. The letter indicated the North Lima-based company was about to change the way it does business and terminate its existing contracts. The change would happen in 30 days.

“We have just decided to step back from the 911 contracts,” said co-owner Deb Lowery.

Lowery says the company will continue to respond to emergency calls when available but just won’t be the primary ambulance provider for those communities. She said the decision will allow Life Fleet to maintain its core business, transporting patients to and from nursing homes, dialysis clinics and doctor’s offices.

“By doing this and taking our steps to continue working with our nursing homes and provide them with the service we’ve always provided them that we told them we would,” Lowery said.

Lowery said part of the reason behind the change was that a number of communities have started using their own ambulances or sending firefighters on medical calls as first responders. But several local mayors say Life Fleet’s email this week forced them to quickly start looking for other providers.

“We’ve been kind of on top of the situation, so our fire chief has been in talks with Lane and AMR to make sure that our city is covered,” said Struthers Mayor Cat Cercone Miller.

Campbell Mayor Nick Phillips said the change could be a positive one for the city.

“I personally met with the owners and operators of Lane Ambulance Company, and we just feel that Lane might be a better fit for our community,” Phillips said.

On Facebook, Hubbard Mayor Ben Kyle posted, “I want to personally express my gratitude to Lane LifeTRANS for stepping in and helping to keep our residents safe. On behalf of the residents and our safety forces, thank you; we appreciate your commitment to our community.”

While neither Lane nor AMR was able to talk about any discussions they may have had with local communities, Lowery says the switch will help guarantee employment for Life Fleet workers.

“There were times where we had to say, ‘No, we can’t do a doctor’s appointment,’ where now we don’t have that problem,” she said.

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