Non-political committee will study Hawkins EMS franchise options

Two members of the exploratory committee that will make a recommendation to the Hawkins County Commission regarding its impending ambulance franchise decision attended Wednesday Public Safety Committee including retired nurse and EMT instructor Ed Alvis, left, and retired physician Dr. Blaine Jones, right.
Retired physician Dr. Blaine Jones, left, will chair an exploratory committee that will help the Hawkins County Commission with its upcoming EMS franchise award decision. Beside him is Hawkins County EMA director Gary Murrell after Wednesday's Public Safety Committee.

That’s why on Monday the County Commission will be asked to approve an out of order resolution appointing an exploratory committee of medical and public safety professionals to study both franchise applications, and make a recommendation to the full commission.

Current franchise holder Hawkins County EMS’s two year ambulance franchise expires on June 30.

The non-profit HCEMS is seeking renewal of that franchise, and the for-profit Lifeguard EMS has applied for the franchise as well.

Lifeguard operated in Hawkins County briefly until 2015 when the County Commission, in a politically charged atmosphere, voted to exclude Lifeguard from receiving an ambulance franchise.

A year later Church Hill EMS folded, leaving HCEMS as the county’s only ambulance service provider.

On the heels of CHEMS folding in August 2016, the county commission appointed an EMS Exploratory Committee to review the existing EMS situation and to make a recommendation to the full commission.

That recommendation was presented on Nov. 30, 2016 and called for the county to absorb HCEMS into a county-owned…

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