Weatherford Democrat

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January 26, 2014

Concerns arise over ambulance service in western Parker Co.

Hospital district questions ESD No. 9 over discussions with EMS companies

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Just weeks after the Parker County Hospital District closed on land north of Brock to build an ambulance station, the timing of a pitch last week from an ambulance company regarding provision of ground ambulance service in ESD No. 9 has ruffled some feathers and caused hospital district officials to seek assurance that a LifeCare ambulance station is wanted in southwest Parker County.

Hospital district officials claim the emergency services district board for the Brock-Dennis area did not give them a definitive answer during a recent meeting on whether the ESD board planned to seek ambulance service from another provider.

However, the president of the ESD No. 9 board of commissioners, Jim Calhoun, said the board does want to see a LifeCare ambulance stationed in the area and he thought that had been communicated following the meeting.

Officials say the confusion could delay plans for LifeCare ambulance expansion in the western half of the county.

LifeCare currently operates ambulances out of stations in Weatherford, Springtown and Willow Park. Firefighters in areas of the western half of the county have expressed concerns for years about the longer response times for calls from Adell and Whitt, to Brock and Dennis and areas in between. In an effort to address the issue and save more lives, several fire departments, including Brock-Dennis Fire Rescue, have met requirements within the past several years to be dispatched as volunteer first responder organizations providing emergency medical treatment.

On Nov. 21, the hospital closed on approximately 2 acres of land off Farm-to-Market Road 1189 near Interstate 20, agreeing to pay nearly $200,000 for the property where they plan to build a station to house up to two ambulances and crews.

The planned station should significantly improve paramedics’ response times to areas within the southwest and central western portions of Parker County. In normal traffic, it currently takes about 14 to 15 minutes for an ambulance responding from Weatherford to reach the area of the planned station, according to LifeCare Director Paul Smith. 

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