By Mike Robertson

Kemper County Messenger

Paramedics Plus, of Tyler, Texas, a for-profit emergency medical service company, is in the process of acquiring LifeCare EMS which services a six county area, including Leake, Kemper, Winston, Scott, Newton and Noxubee Counties.

LifeCare EMS is a privately owned company which has been in business since 1991, with headquarters in Carthage. LifeCare was already established in Leake County and with the collapse of EmergyStat Ambulance in 2008, the company took over the contracts in the other counties.

LifeCare Operations Manager, Leigh Ann Magee, pointed out that there are no problems within the company leading to the acquisition, but there are issues with technology and staffing that a larger company like Paramedics Plus can better address. She added that these are issues that are being felt in the EMS industry nationwide.

Magee said, “We started this process about a year ago, and there is absolutely nothing wrong, nothing bad that’s happened. There are just a lot of industry issues. There are paramedic shortages nationwide, not just specific to us or even to the State of Mississippi.” She added that there is a lot to manage for a small provider such as LifeCare, and it was time to lock into a larger network with more resources, and that the change is about making things better for the residents of their six county area.

Paramedics Plus President, Ron Schwartz stated that the merger should be complete within the next few weeks and is excited about the opportunity of adding LifeCare to the company. Paramedics Plus services a six-county area in Texas, Pinellas County, Fla., Ft. Wayne, Ind., Alameda County, Ca. and Sioux Falls, SD. The company employs about 1.4K people, and transports around 350,000 patients per year.

Schwartz added that the company works under very stringent response time and clinical, maintenance and educational standards which they must adhere to. The company has been very forward thinking and innovative in the work systems.

He added that the name of the company will remain LifeCare and staffing levels will remain the same. He said, “It’s not our intent to come in and make major changes here. LifeCare has done a good job in the community; the community seems to support LifeCare and we have no intention of changing the LifeCare name. The name has credibility here.”

Schwartz added that the same managers will continue to manage the system, stating that when you have a good system and a good reputation there is no reason to change things.

 However, local employees will benefit from the innovations that Paramedics Plus has brought into the industry.

Magee stated that the acquisition is moving forward and she does not foresee any problems in the process.