NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Local cities got the news that Rural/Metro Corp., the provider of ambulance service in North Fulton, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, due to overwhelming debt assumed when a private equity firm acquired the company in 2011 for $438 million.
Rural/Metro, which provides ambulance services in 21 states, assured its customers it will continue to provide service while the company's debt is restructured. The company had missed a $65 million payment which prompted the company to seek Chapter 11 protection.
According to a statement from the company, it has reached an agreement "in principle" that would reduce its debt by 50 percent as well as receive an infusion of $135 million in new capital to fund new investment in additional operations and growth.
Emergency Medical Services Region III Chairman Dr. John Harvey said local cities should experience no change in service by Rural/Metro.
"It is just a regrouping of its existing debt. But we will continue to monitor the situation," Harvey said.
Alpharetta Assistant City Manager James Drinkard likewise said ambulance service will continue uninterrupted.
Rural/Metro does not serve as the first responder in an emergency in North Fulton. That is provided by the local fire departments. Metro is the transporter once a victim has been stabilized and ready to travel to the hospital.
In Johns Creek and Milton, it is a little more problematic because those cities are involved in negotiations for additional ambulance service to reduce Metro's response times in the cities.
However, Johns Creek City Manager John Kachmar said he does not believe those negotiations will be affected.
Johns Creek has agreed in principle to lease two of its own Quick Response Vehicles on a per call basis that will lower Metro's response times and allow the company more flexibility.
In the interim of the negotiations, Metro has voluntarily posted a second ambulance in Johns Creek as a sign of good faith.