CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Changes could be coming to the Eaton County EMS very soon, and some community leaders say if the changes are made, they could put residents in grave danger.
“There was a meeting, and the members of the Charlotte-area EMS were brought in, and they were talked with about the ambulance change. This is going to be detrimental to our community, if this change does occur," said Eaton County Board of Commissioners Chair Jeremy Whittum.
Whittum says there are well over 100,000 residents in the county who rely on EMS services whose lives will be put in danger if EMS goes away.
“Sparrow Hospital is making decisions. The decision, from what I understand, will be made in the next four to six weeks whether to eliminate our community-based ambulance service and go with a non-emergency-based service. More of a transportation service," said Whittum.
Eaton Rapids Mayor Pam Colestock says the City Council got wind of the possible changes, and they are concerned.
"Some of the possible changes were that they’d no longer be offering ambulance service only through transfers. Hospital to hospital type transfers," said Colestock.
Colestock says Eaton Rapids is one of 15 municipalities that rely on Sparrow Eaton for ambulance services, in fact her city just signed a three-year contract with the health system last year.
Mayor Colestock says she doesn’t understand why the health system has not communicated any of these possible changes because her office will need to spring into action if EMS services are cut.
“I know that they would understand that this would be a big deal to all of a sudden not have ambulance service to a major portion of Eaton County. That’s where we feel that we just want to make sure that we’re part of that discussion process with them," said Colestock.
Whittum says the decision about doing away with EMS services in the county could happen in four to six weeks.
FOX 47 News did reach out to Sparrow for comment.
The health system declined an interview but did send this emailed statement:
“We are simply exploring options for Eaton Area EMS, which is one of only three hospital-owned EMR’s in Michigan and the only one at Sparrow. This due diligence is part of our continued evaluation of our health system and how to best provide care to the community. We are always mindful of the dedicated caregivers who work at Eaton Area EMS and have pledged to keep them updated.”
This is a FOX 47 News exclusive story, and we will continue to bring you the latest developments as they become available.
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