(a) A county may by ordinance franchise ambulance services provided in the county to the public at large, whether the service is based inside or outside the county. The ordinance may:
(1) Grant franchises to ambulance operators on terms set by the board of commissioners;
(2) Make it unlawful to provide ambulance services or to operate an ambulance in the county without such a franchise;
(3) Limit the number of ambulances that may be operated within the county;
(4) Limit the number of ambulances that may be operated by each franchised operator;
(5) Determine the areas of the county that may be served by each franchised operator;
(6) Establish and from time to time revise a schedule of rates, fees, and charges that may be charged by franchised operators;
(7) Set minimum limits of liability insurance for each franchised operator;
(8) Establish other necessary regulations consistent with and supplementary to any statute or any Department of Health and Human Services regulation relating to ambulance services.
Before it may adopt an ordinance pursuant to this subsection, the board of commissioners must first hold a public hearing on the need for ambulance services. The board shall cause notice of the hearing to be published once a week for two successive weeks before the hearing. After the hearing the board may adopt an ordinance if it finds that to do so is necessary to assure the provision of adequate and continuing ambulance service and to preserve, protect, and promote the public health, safety, and welfare.
If a person, firm, or corporation is providing ambulance services in a county or any portion thereof on the effective date of an ordinance adopted pursuant to this subsection, the person, firm, or corporation is entitled to a franchise to continue to serve that part of the county in which the service is being provided. The board of commissioners shall determine whether the person, firm, or corporation so entitled to a franchise is in compliance with Chapter 131E, Article 7; and if that is the case, the board shall grant the franchise.
(b) In lieu of or in addition to adopting an ordinance pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, a county may operate or contract for ambulance services in all or a portion of the county. A county may appropriate for ambulance services any revenues not otherwise limited as to use by law, and may establish and from time to time revise schedules of rates, fees, charges, and penalties for the ambulance services. A county may operate its ambulance services as a line department or may create an ambulance commission and vest in it authority to operate the ambulance services.
(c) A city may adopt an ordinance pursuant to and under the procedures of subsection (a) of this section and may operate or contract for ambulance services pursuant to subsection (b) of this section if (i) the county in which the city is located has adopted a resolution authorizing the city to do so or (ii) the county has not, within 180 days after being requested by the city to do so, provided for ambulance services within the city pursuant to this section. Any action taken by a city pursuant to this subsection shall apply only within the corporate limits of the city.
If a city is exercising a power granted by this subsection, the county in which the city is located may thereafter take action to provide for ambulance service within the city, either under subsection (a) or subsection (b) of this section, only after having given to the city 180 days' notice of the county's intention to take action. At the end of the 180 days, the city's authority under this subsection is preempted by the county.
(d) A county or a city may contract with a franchised ambulance operator or with another county or city for ambulance service to be provided upon the call of a department or agency of the county or city. A county may contract with a franchised ambulance operator for transportation of indigents or persons certified by the county department of social services to be public assistance recipients.
(e) Each county or city operating ambulance services is subject to the provisions of Chapter 131E, Article 7 ("Regulation of Emergency Medical Services"). (1967, c. 343, s. 5; 1969, c. 147; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 822, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2002-159, s. 51.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014