Texas city switches back to in-house EMS from private provider

City officials said Denison and LifeNet were unable to come to terms that fit the needs of both parties

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat

DENISON, Texas — In a reversal of previous action, the city of Denison announced Tuesday that it will be resuming in-house EMS service after privatizing the service for two years under a partnership with provider LifeNet.

The announcement marks the latest chapter in Denison's ongoing efforts with providing adequate staffing for EMS service amid recruiting and retention difficulties and claims of poaching by other departments.

In 2019, the city contracted with LifeNet to provide emergency 9-1-1 EMS service for the city on a temporary basis as new paramedics were trained to fill vacancies. However, city officials signaled earlier this summer that this service would continue into the future and the city would enter into a long-term agreement with the company.

Less than six months later, the city is signaling that it is reversing course on this decision.

"During the transition period, residents of Denison will have no interruptions of EMS services and no reduction in the excellent care they have come to expect," the city said in a press release issued Tuesday. "Denison Fire Rescue and the City of Denison are thankful for the services rendered by LifeNet over the last two years."

City officials said Denison and LifeNet were unable to come to terms that fit the needs of both parties and the privatized service is set the expire on April 1, 2022. During the interim, city staff will begin hiring new staff to bring the service back under the purview of Denison.

City Manager Greg Smith said the city is currently working on a plan with regard to staffing for EMS and the new fire chief, when selected will have a role in overseeing that and the implementation of EMS service. In preparation for the service, the city is looking to hire 12 EMS crew and one additional administrative position to assist in the service.

Smith noted that all firefighters that are hired by the city meet the base requirements issued by the state to work on an ambulance and the vast majority of the city's firefighters have paramedic certification.


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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