Rural Tenn. Counties: No hospital, and struggling to pay for EMS first responders

Aug 23, 2019

Credit Jackson County Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State lawmakers heard Thursday from rural county mayors struggling to pay for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Many rural Tennessee counties no longer have hospitals. EMS first responders are frequently the only emergency medical care available.

Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady gave lawmakers on the House TennCare Subcommittee just one example of what that can cost. Heady described a chronically ill county resident that has to be transported to Nashville for emergency care about once a month.

“One way it costs us $1371.80. That’s one way.  We’re reimbursed one way $339.94. So one trip we take him down there and bring him back we’re gonna lose $2,063.72.”

Mayor Heady says that one patient alone costs the county $28,000 a year.

State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver is asking for roughly $12 million dollars in new state funding to help rural counties offset EMS costs.