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Cass County officials discuss plans after Pride Care ceases service

Two emergency medical technicians of Emergency Ambulance Service sit next to each other in their ambulance.
Jae C. Hong
Any permanent agreement would have to wait for the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service to change its bylaws, which do not currently allow for the contracting out of its services.

Cass County’s emergency authority has tentative plans for a permanent ambulance service arrangement.

“A tradition of caring, commitment, and community service” was Pride Care Ambulance's motto.

Some residents of Cass County say the company fell short of that ideal after it cancelled service in August.

Wayne Township Supervisor Frank Butts chairs Cass County's emergency authority.

He said emergency services received only 12 hours’ notice Pride Care was cancelling service.

“We're talking about people's lives and health, and without any warning, you take that away from them,” Butts said.

After a recent meeting at which the authority discussed its options for moving forward, Butts explained that the board chose the private service because it was less expensive, but it also proved less reliable.

“It's a hard lesson to learn, but hopefully we won't make that mistake again. Our goal is to provide long term ambulance service and that's where we're headed,” he said.

The authority has a temporary agreement with the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service and hopes to make a long-term agreement with the municipally-owned non-profit.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.