San Augustine dedicates EMS building as next step to being in the ambulance business

San Augustine dedicates EMS building as next step to being in the ambulance business

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - San Augustine City-County Hospital District dedicated its new EMS building today. It’s a milestone for the rural health care provider. The business plan may catch the interest of other rural areas thanks to the dedication of District administrator Jean Hines.

Hospital district board president Charles Boyette addresses the crowd to help dedicate the new EMS building.

“Without this lady, we would not be where we are today.”

Hines sheds a tear for the gratitude. The new EMS building is dedicated to her. The once part-time district employee, gave a hospital board confidence to stop paying up to $24,000 thousand a month to private ambulance services. A decision came in 2013.

"So we just decided to go into the business ourselves because nobody is going to take care of your people like you do," said Boyette.

That 'it takes a village' philosophy brought the district to owning and running three ambulances. It keeps a mother/daughter administrative team, with paramedic credentials, busy.

"We average 2,000 calls a year. We do about 60% 911s, 40 are transfers from our nursing homes and the hospital," said administrator operations Bethany Butler.

The tax based entity can schedule part-time employees to help the full-time paramedics. This lowers the salary overhead, explained administrative manager

Brittany Hopson.

"We have paramedics and EMTs that come from other areas that have great full-time jobs and have wonderful skill sets and we're able to utilize them," said Hopson.

The board remained frugal. Paramedics lived in an unfurnished two bedroom apartment. All the while, Hines' worked on a goal to provide a workplace and living quarters deserving of a staff that runs to danger, not away from it.

"We used funds from our reserve fund for the initial investment," said Hines.

Work is going on now to remodel the adjacent home where paramedics live while on duty.

And with no tax increase and no outstanding bills.

"We paid for it as we went. We do not owe anything," said Hines with a grin.

That helps a lot for a city and county where almost a quarter of its population lives in poverty.

Hines wants to serve all residents.

“Every community needs an ambulance service. It’s critical.”

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