The question has recently been tackled in Leon County and Wakulla County and now it's Taylor County's turn. When you call 9-1-1 in Taylor County, this is what you get: service directly from Doctor's Memorial Hospital, but the contract between the hospital and the county has run out leaving the emergency system in a financial limbo.
Marty Tompkins, director of Doctors Memorial EMS, says, "We have had some decreases in Medicare, Medicaid reimbursement. We have had some insurance decreases that has put a financial strain on the running of the system."
Under the old contract, Taylor County subsidized the service to the tune of $24,000 a month. Doctor's Memorial is looking to increase that subsidy to $30,000 a month. At this point the county is taking nothing off the table, including possibly taking over the service.
"If we feel that the county could best serve the people by doing that, yes, the county would do that, but you know it's like what I said. We're going to look at it and see which would be the best for the people. That's the bottom line, which way is the best way for the people of Taylor County,” says Patricia Patterson, chair, Taylor County Commission.
For now negotiations are preliminary and emergency service will be there when you dial 9-1-1.
"We have good equipment, updated equipment. Everything as far as the service is concerned we think we provide a top quality service and again it's a financial issue we need to get worked out," says Tompkins.
In a joint session Monday night, the DMH Board of Directors and the Taylor County Commission unanimously decided to extend the current existing contract 120 days to give hospital administrators time to evaluate the financial operations of the Emergency Medical Services and come back with a recommendation.