Battle waging in Loudon County over ambulance service
LAURA HALM 6 News Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) - A battle is waging over who will provide ambulance services in Loudon County, leaving the people who depend on that care with more questions than answers. Priority Ambulance announced earlier this year that they would be the exclusive service provider for Lenoir City and the city of Loudon.

The problem, according to the competitor Rural/Metro is that those terms violate their long term deal with Loudon County. The situation has been unfolding for months, and on Monday county leaders sent a two-page letter to Rural/Metro outlining a number of issues they have with the company.

Rural/Metro ambulances have been running calls throughout Loudon County for 11 years. Loudon County Commissioner Steve Harrelson explained the latest issue.

"The last county commission meeting, our county attorney brought these allegations to us and told us that he looked into these different incidences, and this is what he'd found," said Harrelson.

A total of six problems were listed on the two-page letter. One, for example, says Rural/Metro doesn't have enough ambulances required by their agreement.

The company told 6 News there are three 24 hour crews and an additional day crew serving Loudon County.

"We just decided to give them at 60 day notice and say, 'Hey these are some deficiencies that we would like to see improved upon, taken care of.' So we're waiting to see back from Rural/Metro. Hopefully those things are taken care of and everything will be fine," added Harrelson.

County commissioners do not believe this could have any impact on residents. 

"We're trying to get the best service to the Loudon County citizens as we can," said Harrelson.

Rural/Metro officials say they respect any concerns someone may have and they are certainly intent on addressing legitimate issues, until then the ambulance company plans on continuing their contract started in 2003 which runs until December 2015.

"As long as someone is here who knows what they're doing, and gets the right help I need, and get me where I need to be," said homeowner Bryan May.