- Associated Press - Saturday, October 17, 2015

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - Despite a lawsuit challenging its funding, a new company is gearing up to begin providing ambulance service to North Platte on Nov. 1.

Two North Platte residents filed the lawsuit in August, weeks after Priority Medical Transport owners received approval for a $350,000 loan funded through a city sales tax, the North Platte Telegraph reported (https://bit.ly/1MupvyE ).

The lawsuit says the city failed to give enough public notice, including notice that the loan was going to public employees.

The owners of the service include Trent Kleinow, the city’s assistant fire chief, and North Platte city attorney Doug Stack. The lawsuit also claims owner Jim Smith is a public employee, but Smith denies that, saying he volunteers his time to serve at the North Platte Fire Department’s medical director. He’s employed as an emergency doctor at Great Plains Health in North Platte.

The ambulance service has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying, among other things, that it relies on state law that doesn’t apply to the city.

Priority Medical Transport has a contract with Great Plains Health to be the hospital’s preferred service provider. As of Dec. 1, it would be the first company in North Platte called to take patients from Great Plains to other hospitals.

Smith said Priority Medical will transport patients regardless of whether they can pay or have insurance.

“We feel we have an ethical responsibility to service everybody in this community,” Smith said.


Information from: The North Platte Telegraph, https://www.nptelegraph.com

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