Ambulance service in Barry Co. shuts down

NASHVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — The doors are locked at the Castleton-Maple Grove-Nashville EMS station.

Two ambulances sit idle waiting for a call, which is the way they will stay, for now.

“It’s our intent to get our service back up and running as quickly as possible,” said Cheryl Hartwell, Castleton-Maple Grove-Nashville EMS board chair.

Last Monday, the EMS provider that serves the three townships, the village of Nashville and parts of Eaton County with advanced life support service closed.

Barry County’s Medical Control Authority, a group of medical professionals that oversees EMS service in each Michigan County, effectively took Castleton-Maple Grove-Nashville out of service. With no oversight from the Authority, the state declared the ambulance services’ license null and void.

Hartwell said communication problems and a shortage of personnel led to the closure. The lack of personnel left important forms and other documents incomplete.

“There’s a lot, a lot of paperwork involved with it,” Hartwell said. “Depending on how many times you get toned out back to back, you can get behind easily. But this was a little bit extreme.”

It’s a problem common to many small, community supported EMS providers.

Other EMS providers are picking up calls in the communities served by Castleton-Maple Grove-Nashville EMS.

Hastings-based Mercy Ambulance Services has added an extra rig and crew to cover calls in the area.

Hartwell said they have been catching up on the needed paperwork and hope to get the service back in the good graces of the authority and state as soon as possible.

“That’s our goal,” said Hartwell. “To get back on line, and get back to business as soon as possible.”

Hartwell said she hopes that will happen by the first of February but admits with the process for regaining the license involving so many moving parts, that date may be optimistic.

24 Hour News 8 was told Tuesday the Barry County Medical Control Authority would issue a statement on the decision to end oversight on Castleton-Maple Grove-Nashville EMS, but had not received it as of Tuesday evening.