Too much money not going to the right places

Published 7:28 pm Friday, February 27, 2009

Kind of ironic. Gov. Bob Riley wants to turn away federal funding to bolster unemployment programs and Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital is considering letting its ambulance service — the Tombigbee Emergency Medical Service (TEMS) — go because of a lack of funds.

A pity those funds couldn’t have been earmarked for peripheral things that stimulate industry, like a well-equipped ambulance service. Demopolis mayor Mike Grayson has said more than once how having things like good schools, a good police and fire department and a solid ambulance service enhances the city’s marketability to potential new industries considering coming to this area.

Unfortunately, the hospital says that the ambulance service has been operating at a loss for years. In seeking funding from Demopolis, Linden and Marengo County, the hospital was unable to find a dime, as those entities are also struggling with their budgets as it is.

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So, here we are again, for the third time since last summer. Without the help of subsidies from the county’s three largest entities, it is left with the choice of continuing to operate the current ambulance service at a loss or seek out a more for-profit ambulance service elsewhere.

It is not an easy decision to make. It would be nice if the government could restructure any monies turned away to go towards emergency services nationwide.