ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- An effort to start a second ambulance service in Washtenaw County may be over before it started.
The county s EMS Commission on Friday denied a letter of approval for Care Response Ambulance to become a licensed ambulance operator, said Peter Forster, administrator for operations of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
Care Response officials said they began the process two years ago and hoped to start offering basic life support transportation by Jan. 1.
The approval of the EMS Commission is essentially a mandatory prerequisite to get licensed, said Dr. Robert Domeier, medical director of the Washtenaw and Livingston Medical Control Authority.
It s a significant blow to their application process, Domeier said. The application is still under review, but it would be pretty much impossible to get a license without (the letter).
That decision means Huron Valley Ambulance is likely to remain the county s only emergency 911 transportation service, which the nonprofit has provided for the last 26 years.
Forster said the decision against Care Response was based on several factors, including HVA s strong ties to the community and support from local hospitals as a non-taxpayer supported service.
It was a vote of confidence for HVA more than anything else and a statement that we don t want anything that has the potential to undermine that operation, he said.
Therle Dregansky, quality assurance manager for Pittsfield Township-based Care Transport - the ambulance operation s parent company - previously said there s a need for non-emergent transport services, especially in outlying areas. He said there are delays because HVA must provide the emergency response in Washtenaw and other counties.
Dregansky also had said the company had two signed contracts with clients for the service and was in negotiations with a third. He briefly spoke to a reporter about the commission s rejection Monday, then said he would return the call and couldn t be reached later in the day.Forster, who chairs the county s EMS Commission, said the planned clients for Care Transport supported the company at Friday s meeting, and HVA President and CEO Dale Berry gave a presentation. HVA officials have expressed concerns that another ambulance service not bound to provide emergency response could affect their bottom line.