News Ticker

Commissioners discuss future of ambulance service

The Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners sat down with City and County leaders to discuss what will be the future of ambulance service in Mt. Juliet.
The issue arose because the County has decided to move their ambulances from Fire Department of Mt. Juliet stations one and three, to the new WEMA stations they are building on Clemmons Road and Central Pike. Both are located in the same area as the FMDJ stations, but will adjust some response times in some areas within city limits.
“We have two different goals and two different things we need to accomplish,” said Vice Mayor Ray Justice.
Wilson County made the decision to move the ambulance to the new Central Pike station because there was a pocket in the southwest portion of Wilson County that wasn’t within the five-minute response time of another station. The County also pays rent to place their ambulances in the FDMJ stations, but that wasn’t discussed as a reason for the move.
“It would be great if we could have one on every corner, but it is just not possible,” said County Mayor Randall Hutto.
Justice said the county wasn’t doing anything bad toward the city, it is just what they needed to do to make sure the county was covered. Now the City needed to optimize their service.
Hutto said that they did tests on response times to Del Webb, one of the areas that would have a slower response time because of the move. From FDMJ Station 1, the response time to Del Webb was 2:37, while it was 4:14 from the new Central Pike station. However, he said there are now places in that southwest corner of the county that will have much faster times because of the move.
“We haven’t diminished service just because we change the location where they are,” said Hutto.
The Board of Commissioners and Fire Chief Jamie Luffman discussed four options they could consider. One was to do nothing. Another was to hire a private service that would not be any cost to the taxpayer. The calls would be paid by insurance, or billed based on Medicare prices for those that are uninsured. Another would be to start their own ambulance service, which would be quite costly to the City. And the last would be to train firefighters to be ALS certified so the fire department could respond and start treatment until the WEMA ambulances arrive. It would make it so the firefighters could do everything the first responders could do on the WEMA ambulances except transport.
“It would be wise if we have our own plan in place and be able to control what we can control,” said Mayor James Maness.
The ambulances will not move until the new stations are built, which would be 18-24 months. That gives time for the Board of Commissioners to discuss their options and have it in place when that move happens.
The BOC left the meeting anticipating holding more Work Sessions in the near future. The first has not been scheduled as of print.