Harris County, Texas – Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 (ESD 11) has begun providing full emergency medical services (EMS) to the district following the launch of its new in-house ambulance service, ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare. The new ambulance service took over EMS responsibilities at 7:00AM on September 1 and is now running its standard operations.
The September 1 launch was the culmination of a months-long effort to bring ambulance services in-house during which ESD 11 trained 180 new paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and 911 telecommunicators and assembled a fleet of 40 state-of-the-art ambulances. The service will regularly have 28 ambulances deployed to the streets at a time, nine more than under the previous provider. With more ambulances and cutting-edge amenities, ESD 11 aims to provide the community with faster response times and increased patient comfort during rides.
The 7:00AM transition occurred without issue and ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare was able to fulfill all incoming calls and requests for emergency transports as well as assist neighboring ambulance services that were overloaded. Community Engagement Manager Jerry Thomas expressed satisfaction with the launch and their preparations, saying, “The trucks are doing great, and we’re very happy with our new staff and the EMS academy we held. That went incredibly well.”
Officials with ESD 11 have stressed the service’s efforts to operate as efficiently as possible, which will allow them to offer the community faster and better service and at a lower cost than before. Even with the added ambulances on the streets, ESD 11 says operating its own service will save up to six million dollars a year in taxpayer money, owed in part to innovative new systems for running the operation.
ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare will be headquartered in a new campus at 18344 Stuebner Airline Road in Spring. Currently under construction, the campus will consist of the ambulance deployment center, administration building, communications center, and fleet maintenance facility. ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare is currently operating out of a temporary deployment center at 4111 Kreinhop Road and will continue there until the new campus is completed in early 2022.
The decision to bring ambulance services in-house and create ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare came after a unanimous December 2020 board decision to not renew the contract with the previous ambulance service provider, Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS), following troubling findings in a forensic audit of CCEMS financial activity. The private EMS provider had been serving ESD 11 for 46 years.
CCEMS released a statement outlining its new operations as it transitions away from ESD 11. CEO Wren Nealy Jr. is quoted in the statement, saying, “We are turning our innovative care outward to provide medical transports under contract to CHI St. Luke’s Health and our Red Shirts are going global with Creek AirCare providing critical care air transport services. In addition to offering our unmatched accredited education courses, we will continue to provide operational medical support to our law enforcement partners and at special events.”
Harris County ESD 11 serves an area of 177 square miles in north Harris County with over 600,000 residents.