Hospital offers solution to county's ceasing of transport, county disagrees

Hospital offers solution to county's ceasing of transport, county disagrees

On June 10 Caldwell County announced that County EMS has stopped non-emergency transports from Caldwell UNC Health Caldwell to other medical  facilities, citing that the change comes as calls for non-emergency transports increase as services at Caldwell UNC decrease. 

Laura Easton, CEO and President of UNC Health Caldwell issued a statement is response to the decision: 

“UNC Health Caldwell appreciates every member of Caldwell County EMS and the tremendous job they have done to serve our community especially over the past two years of this pandemic,” she wrote, “Non emergent transfers to a higher level of care are routine for community hospitals across North Carolina. We appreciate the challenges this presents to our local EMS team and have identified a solution.”

“UNC Health Caldwell is requesting that the County approve North State Medical Transport (NSMT) to be a franchised “non-emergent” ALS level provider for Caldwell County. This would allow North State Medical Transport to stage an ambulance unit at our hospital and to carry out interfacility transports and transfers for our patients that require the respective level of service. North State Medical Transport has been in service for 18 years and is currently franchised in 14 other counties across North Carolina.”

“The North Carolina Office of Emergency Management Services has NCMT designated at the NC DHHS level of “specialty care” which means they are able to handle any level of acuity needed for UNC Health Caldwell patients needing non-emergent transport. UNC Health has worked with North State Medical Transport for over 13 years serving many of their affiliate hospitals. We are hopeful that the County will promptly approve this request.”

“Both Caldwell County EMS and UNC Health Caldwell are dedicated to the citizens of this county and assuring the safety and well-being of those we serve.”

Caldwell County Manager Donald Duncan said, “We have received no written proposal from the hospital, and the devil is in the details,” he said. “The fact that they have issued this press release without consultation with the county shows that they are not a community partner and have no plans to be.” 

“Over the years Caldwell County has asked on dozens of occasions for UNC Caldwell to be an active partner in the help of this community,” Duncan said.  “We certainly will consider it, we’d be happy to consider what the options are…the state has tried to help facilitate this…I can’t comment on something we haven’t seen.” 

"The hospital is pretending to be to be a community partner and I would think that the residents of Caldwell County are smart enough to see through that," he said. 

He issued a further statement through the county that, "it appears Mrs. Easton is purposefully trying to sabotage our negotiations." 

This is a developing story and Caldwell Free Press will update accordingly.

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