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      Gadsden-Etowah EMS relinquishes state license; city to revoke business license

      Gadsden-Etowah EMS no longer has a state medical transport license, and the city plans to revoke the company's business license.

      The Gadsden City Council's Public Safety Committee met Thursday morning to discuss ambulance service in the city.

      Workers walked away from Gadsden-Etowah EMS at 5 p.m. on February 21, after several weeks without pay.{} The Alabama Department of Public Health gave the company five days to resume operations or lose their license from the state.

      The company filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, but one of the city council members wanted to allow the company{}to resume operations.{} The other members of the Public Safety Committee decided to wait for ADPH to pull the state license before making a decision on the business license issued by the city of Gadsden.

      "Our stipulation was if they had their licensure to prevent them from providing an ambulance service to the city of Gadsden, then we would also have them pull their business license," Gadsden fire chief Stephen Carroll said Thursday morning.

      ADPH received Gadsden-Etowah EMS's state medical transport license in the mail later Thursday.{} The Public Safety Committee will likely pull the business license at their next meeting.

      Chief Carroll said there has been no decrease or drop-off in ambulance service to the city.{} He heard the Gadsden Etowah EMS workers intended to walk off the job earlier that afternoon, and arranged for Rural/Metro Ambulance to provide additional coverage.

      The city council does not want one company to have a monopoly on ambulance service.{} The council members plan to authorize an ambulance group called Advantage to come in as a second provider along with Rural/Metro.{} A third company, A-Med, provides ambulances in Etowah County but does not want to be a primary service and will be a back-up if necessary.

      Rural/Metro regional director Don Bratcher said Thursday morning that he hired several of the Gadsden Etowah EMS to work for Rural/Metro.