Questcare officially announced the end of its run as an emergency transportation service Monday, following a year of hardships for the company.
According to an announcement released Monday by Questcare President Kevin Fairle, the business ceased all operations on New Year’s Eve.
“Questcare EMS is announcing that as of today, Dec. 31, 2012, it has ceased all business operations,” said Fairle in a written statement. “Questcare will no longer provide ambulance services in Floyd, Pike, Johnson, Martin or Magoffin counties.”
Fairle said Questcare has donated all its business assets to Consolidated Health Systems, the parent company of Highlands Regional Medical Center, which will oversee the liquidation of assets. He added that the medical center will not operate the ambulance service.
Also on Monday, the Kentucky State Board of Emergency Medical Service issued a cease and desist order and suspended the license.
Last month, The Times reported on the potential end to Questcare, when it was learned that an agreement to acquire the service had been filed with the state.
Consolidated Heath Systems, a not-for-profit group, filed its intent to acquire Questcare Nov. 27 with the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ certificate of need branch.
As recently as two weeks ago, Highlands representatives were still denying that any sale or transfer was planned for Questcare Ambulance service.
On Wednesday, CHS released a statement with regard to the donation, saying, “Officials at Highlands agreed to accept the donation of the company’s assets, along with some medical equipment and four ambulance service licenses.”
Highlands representatives said there are “approximately” 17 vehicles, in various conditions, and basic medical equipment included in the donation. “We really do not have an accurate value of the items that will be donated,” said Maxanna Cook, hospital spokesperson, “we are just happy to receive it as a gift, and will use the proceeds to further our mission in the community.”
Cook said, as a non-profit orginization, Highlands accepts donations of many kinds as a way to support the ongoing health care needs of the region. “In addition to cash, securities and real estate, other forms of property are always welcomed as gifts. We appreciate any kind of support.”
Questcare Ambulance became embroiled in controversy last spring when its license to operate was suspended, following months of investigations into complaints of faulty equipment.
A Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services Temporary Suspension Panel determined in June of this year that, due to major deficiencies found system-wide, an Order of Immediate Temporary Suspension would be necessary to protect the public interest.
Violations found with the company’s ambulances included a lack of air conditioning in more than a dozen ambulances, and all but six of its 21 ambulances listed on Questcare’s license were parked due to maintenance issues.
Questcare had been the employer of nearly one hundred people in the region.