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After Delays, New TN County Ambulance Service Ready to Launch

Photo/Adam Mason

According to a report from the Johnson City Press, Unicoi County, Tennessee’s, new local ambulance service will begin operations on Monday, August 17.

The announcement comes after more than one year of organizational assistance and temporary ambulance service provided by the Washington County/Johnson City Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Washington County/Johnson City EMS extended its temporary, inter-local service agreement with Unicoi County through the month it took to clear these hurdles; as of Friday, August 7, everything was in place for next week’s launch.

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Barring any unexpected circumstances, three new Unicoi County EMS ambulances will start responding to emergency calls and providing hospital transports throughout Unicoi County.

The transfer of ambulance operations to Unicoi County was initially set for July 15, but it was delayed by several factors such as the unexpected closure of the company that was selected to purchase the ambulances, the contracting of coronavirus by one EMS staff member, and an increased wait-time for the issuance of Medicaid/Medicare billing authorization.

County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely publicly thanked Washington County/Johnson EMS; its director, Dan Wheely; and Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy for helping start the new EMS service.

Unicoi County’s EMS board of directors will meet on Monday afternoon to discuss the final details of the launch, including the target start date.