GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. - As Greene County's budget year is coming to a close, the Emergency Medical Services director is asking for more money to keep the service's ambulance rolling until July 1.
We learned from Robert Sayne that he's asking for $73,000 to balance the books for the month. As we found out, the reason for the shortfall can be blamed on competition.
Not every call to Greene County's EMS Services is an emergency; in fact the bread and butter of the service is non-emergency calls, which EMS receives payment for.
If you want to increase your revenue, then it stands to reason that you have to increase calls, but it's not happening. Now there's competition -- and the EMS director says it's unfair. "The reason that's not happening is we have another ambulance service, a private ambulance service, that has come into our county and started transporting patients without Greene County's permission for about the past year, year and half. They're taking revenue away from our county," EMS Director Robert Sayne said.
The director tells us state law requires permission, and that there's just not enough transport needs to require another service. "There's not enough revenue to support two ambulance services in this county. We don't take money from taxpayers in Greene County," he says.
We attempted to contact that second service, but we didn't hear back from them.
Sayne says the competition could force him to propose a tough decision. "If that continues to happen, there's only one other place we can get money to operate our emergency service, and that's through a tax increase. This county can't afford a tax increase," Sayne said.
A meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. with the EMS board at the Greeneville Health Department to discuss the matter.