Fulton ambulance service not secured

Earlier this month, Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton, Kentucky announced they would close their in-patient and emergency care facilities March 31st. The hope was to offset the closure with continued ambulance service.   

On December 9th Parkway Regional notified the cities and counties they wanted to amend the ambulance service contract with a different ‘out’ clause. The amendment would allow either the city, the county, or the hospital a shorter 60-day period instead of a 9 month period to notify if any party wanted to terminate the contract.

But if the cities, counties, and the hospital don’t agree and approve a new contract by the end of the year, the area may be forced to go without any form of emergency care. This would be detrimental to the area because of the proximity of the other health and emergency care options. The closest location within Kentucky is 30 minutes away. The other locations are both across the state border about 16 minutes away.

Fulton managers know minutes matter in an emergency and how important it is to secure and continue the ambulance service in the area.

Melvin Puckett says his life was saved because of a speedy ambulance ride to the Parkway Regional Hospital. Puckett says he was having diabetic issues with his blood sugar when he passed out and his family couldn’t revive him, “I wasn’t responding so they called the ambulance.”

It’s so many stories like these why Fulton City Manager Cubb Stokes says it’s important the area have some form of emergency care. He says he’s confident his area will have ambulance service come the beginning of the new year, but it’s an involved process to negotiate contracts, “the hospital of course has to sign off on it and with their attorneys in our attorneys agree,” says Stokes.

Parkway notified the other groups involved in the ambulance contract that the hospital wanted to amend the ‘out’ clause. This prompted emergency sessions in the city and county to address the amendment. From what came out of the respective meetings, Stokes says, “there’s been some concerns and those have been addressed between the cities counties and the hospital attorneys.”

The ultimate goal is so Fulton doesn’t have to resort to another option to provide medical care. Stokes says, “sometimes those plans change and it’s good to have a backup plan.”

There is a meeting scheduled Monday, December 29th at the hospital to address the amendments to the contract. It’s also when all parties involved hope to sign and formalize the contract, securing ambulance service for the next year.

There was also a question as to whether the city prompted a dissolution of the ambulance contract. However, the paperwork was drawn up as a precaution in the summer- before the hospital announced its closure. However, Fulton wants to keep the ambulance service, and doesn’t have any plans to file the paperwork making the dissolution final.

The city is exploring options as a precaution in the case the contract doesn’t go through.

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