LANSING, Mich. Dennis Palmer has spent three years trying to convince the city of Lansing that using a private ambulance service already located downtown will help patients get to the hospital faster.
And so far, the city has responded by sticking with the use of ambulances from Lansing Township, East Lansing and other jurisdictions when the city runs out of ambulances of its own.
Palmer is CEO of Mercy Ambulance at 1422 E. Michigan Ave., a private company that handled the Lansing Fire Department s overflow service for five decades. Until 1997, that is, and then the city decided to begin charging for its ambulance runs.
Mercy is a user-fee-only service, whereas the Fire Department didn t charge a fee. Instead, the city s property tax paid for ambulance service. Now, the Fire Department collects both property taxes and user fees. That means the city is competing with Mercy, which charges customers less for basic runs and only slightly more for emergency runs.