Cherokee Co. threatens lawsuit over ambulance service

Cherokee County Council Chairman says they plan to sue Mary Black Gaffney, after the hospital system has decided to not honor a 1984 contract regarding EMS.

When Cherokee County sold their county-run hospital in 1984, a contract stating that the hospital owners would pay for and run EMS for the county, came with it. There was no expiration on the contract.

In December, Mary Black Gaffney provided council with a letter stating that they would no longer honor the contract due to extreme debt from the ambulance service.

Council Chairman Tim Spencer says that the County asked Mary Black Gaffney to continue paying for and providing EMS service through June, when their new fiscal year begins.

Spencer says they plan on suing the hospital system for breaking the 1984 contract. During that litigation, Spencer states the county has enough money to pay for private EMS service for the county.

If the litigation does not rule in the county’s favor, they may have to raise taxes 10 mills. That would mean about $60 for every $100,000 home. That money would equate to around $1.5 million to cover the cost of 5 ambulances in Cherokee County, which they currently have.

The next council meeting is on February 5th, where council members are expected to discuss this issue.