Floyd Medical Center Straightforward

Floyd EMS: Here to Stay

Posted by Kurt Stuenkel, President and CEO
May 14, 2014

Back in January, I wrote about our plan to review our ambulance services, also called emergency medical services, or EMS, after being approached by Redmond’s president, John Quinlivan. He had asked if Floyd would consider bringing in an outside EMS company that would combine Floyd EMS with Redmond EMS to create a multi-county single provider in our region. The thinking was that a single service could be more efficient and reduce operating expenses while maintaining a high level of service. I said, yes, we would consider this.

Here at Floyd we have been very happy with the quality of our EMS service.  Floyd EMS does an outstanding job.  We have won multiple state and region awards.  We looked at changing what we do and combining services solely because of economics. It is increasingly more expensive to provide quality health care, and the money we receive to provide that care is predicted by all to be decreasing over time. And, it seems that every month a government change comes forward that puts pressure on our revenues.  If Floyd is to remain financially viable and continue to serve our community, we have no choice but to change with the times.

Over the past few months we have been working with Redmond to evaluate how the combination of services into a new provider could happen. We worked with a consultant and legal representatives to give us guidance in seeking proposals from private, third-party EMS companies. We received the proposals and evaluated them. Frankly, I was surprised that both final proposals require a large subsidy to help pay for the costs of providing these services.  In fact, the requested subsidies are so large that it no longer makes financial sense for Floyd to continue down this path.

After considering all of the options, we have decided to keep Floyd EMS service. We do in fact lose money by operating EMS.  Historically, what we charge and collect does not cover what it costs to provide the service.  However, over the past months our EMS team has been diligently working to find ways to do things more efficiently.

We appreciate the spirit in which Redmond participated with Floyd in the process to evaluate consolidation. EMS services typically lose money, and we needed to look to see if we could improve the situation. We have now looked and determined that Floyd can best operate and improve on our own.  Again, each of the proposals to operate a single service in our community came with a large subsidy request. I will add that it is a common misconception that Floyd receives financial assistance to subsidize EMS services. This is not true. Floyd, and Redmond as well, are the operators and sole financial underwriters for EMS in Floyd, Polk and Chattooga counties. We bear the responsibility for operational expenses and for provision of services, and we receive no subsidy from any government entity to help pay for those services. After receiving the proposals from outside EMS companies along with their requests for large subsidies, we have determined that Floyd should continue to operate our service and we will not participate in bringing in an outside company as originally contemplated. I met with Redmond President, John Quinlivan, this week to tell him our decision, and he certainly will speak for Redmond on this matter.  Again, we do appreciate working cooperatively with them these past months.

Floyd is the longest serving EMS provider in Georgia, and we are proud of that 48-year history. Since 1966 Floyd has been privileged to serve our community with ambulance services, earning Georgia EMS of the Year an unprecedented three times, and we are committed to continuing to provide both emergency and non-emergency medical services. Our ambulances carry our logo and distinctive green color. Everywhere they go, they reassure the communities we serve that Floyd is there for them.

Next week is National EMS Week, a time when we stop to honor the men and women who are the first responders to medical emergencies. These highly skilled individuals are renowned for their heroism, putting themselves at risk for the benefit of others. And, so many times, they remain in the background. They do it, not for recognition, but because they care.  We are proud of our Floyd EMS heroes, and we also join in celebrating and honoring all who serve in all EMS services everywhere.


Kurt Stuenkel

About Kurt

Kurt Stuenkel has served as President and CEO of Floyd since 1996. He leads a health care system that includes a 304-bed hospital with a level II trauma center and a level III NICU, a family medicine residency program; a 25-bed critical access hospital; a regional primary care network; urgent care centers; and a hospice program. As CEO, Kurt is faced with the many challenges that come with leading a multi-faceted organization that includes a safety net hospital.

He has written articles for, and is faculty with the American College of Healthcare Executives on the topic of Lean Six Sigma and the 120 day workout methodology, and he frequently hosts visitors who wish to learn about the implementation of these techniques.

Kurt has served as Chairman of the Georgia Hospital Association, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, and VHA Georgia; as a member of the American Hospital Association’s Metropolitan Section and Regional Provider Board; and as a member of the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission and the Georgia Health Strategies Council.

Under Kurt’s leadership, Floyd has won numerous state and national awards for supply chain, quality, public relations and programmatic excellence, with a focus on culture, performance, new programs and facilities.