Officials in the City of Pharr, Texas, have announced the city’s acquisition of a former emergency medical services (EMS) company, after weeks of negotiations and hearings before a U. S. Bankruptcy Court.
At a hearing held Monday, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge David R. Jones issued a verbal ruling approving the purchase of all assets of the company formerly known as Hidalgo County Emergency Services Foundation, also known as Hidalgo County EMS, by the City Pharr. The city was the sole bidder to purchase the assets, and no liabilities transferred over with the agreement.
Assets include 98 ambulances, air ambulance services, existing contracts, all EMS equipment, monitors, phones, radios, and more, at the price of $1 million. Funds for the purchase are appropriated by COVID-19 funding that was allocated to the city to support public health services due to the pandemic. The order is currently undergoing final review for signature by Judge Jones upon which all transferred assets, including assigned contracts, will be transferred to the City of Pharr. All details regarding the purchase will be made available upon approval.
Earlier this month, the city approved an ordinance creating the Pharr Emergency Medical Services Department (Pharr EMS), which will provide the highest-quality ambulance and emergency medical services to our region. The department will provide emergency medical services response within the city; emergency medical services and/or non-emergency transport services with other governmental entities via an interlocal agreement; and non-emergency transport services. At the same meeting, the Pharr City Commission adopted an amendment to the City Code of Ordinances Regulating Ambulance Service in the City of Pharr, declaring that the City of Pharr will be the sole primary provider of emergency ambulance service within the city.
Pharr EMS is currently in transition mode, identifying and conducting an inventory of all available assets and in the process of hiring employees to staff the department. Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Danny Ramirez has been named EMS Chief. Pharr EMS will function as a full-fledged EMS department and acquired the existing 911 contracts for 911 calls, ambulance services, and other emergency medical service needs within the geographical boundaries of the City of Pharr, the City of Penitas, the City of Sullivan City, Hidalgo County Precinct 3, Hidalgo County Emergency Services District #2, and will serve as backup to the City of Mission. The City of Edinburg and Hidalgo County Emergency Services #3, had existing contracts with the former EMS company but decided to contract EMS services with an alternate EMS company and will not be serviced by Pharr EMS.
According to the city, all projections made by reviewing financial records of the former company indicate that implementing this new service and operations will be a self-sustaining model that will benefit the citizens of Pharr and the region. With two medical professionals serving on the Pharr City Commission, Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, and Commissioner Dr. Ramiro Caballero, and with the support of the entire City Commission, Pharr was already working toward establishing its own EMS department, researching similar models across the country with the goal of functioning as a well-trained, highly effective, public health service to the community. This opportunity to acquire the former company was timely and appropriate. Moreover, with its geographical positioning as the “hub” of Hidalgo County, Pharr is uniquely positioned, well equipped, and ready to serve the emergency medical needs of the region.