Ambulance services operating on a private basis have a long history in the U.S. Often, particularly in smaller communities, ambulance service was seen by the community as a lower priority than police or fire services, and certainly nothing that should require public funding. Until the professionalization of emergency medical services in the early 1970s, one of the most common providers of ambulance service in the United States was a community's local funeral home. This occurred essentially by default, as hearses were the only vehicles at the time capable of transporting a person lying down. Funeral home ambulance operations were sometimes supplemented by 'mom and pop' operations, which were not affiliated with funeral homes but rather operated on much the same basis as a taxi service. There were no national standards for ambulance services and staff generally had little, if any, medical training or equipment, leading to a high pre-hospital mortality rate.
Knightstown has been fortunate to have a local ambulance service provider for many years now. The Southwest Ambulance Service is considered a basic life support provider.This means that the ambulance service provides an emergency transport with a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).If a patient is in more critical need and a paramedic is required to assist, Henry County EMS services is called in to provide those services. Southwest Ambulance is the local Knightstown ambulance service provider and is a nonprofit organization.
Funded by insurance reimbursement for services, donations and $15,000 of county funding, Southwest Ambulance has struggled in recent years to find volunteers willing to commit their time to assist on ambulance runs.The cost of ambulances, rental space and payment to the Henry County EMS, as well as other operating costs such as insurance, ongoing repair and maintenance and other operating costs are the primary costs of the company.In 2020, the Henry County Commissioners announced that they would no longer provide funding to local ambulance providers, including Southwest Ambulance Service.
As a result, the operation of the local ambulance service in Knightstown is in jeopardy.Citizens have been meeting with local leaders in the hopes of finding a solution that will allow for the continuance of local ambulance services.A local provider is considered important to citizens and certainly is a quality—of-life issue for a community.Having a countywide ambulance service located 15 to 20 miles outside of town puts Knightstown citizens at risk in the event they have emergency medical needs where minutes can make the difference between life and death.Additionally, many local residents travel to Hancock County for their medical needs and if the Southwest Ambulance Service were to close and Henry County EMS took over local ambulance services, the Henry County EMS would only take residents to Henry County medical facilities.
Challenges by Town of Knightstown
Taking the lead on I-70 infrastructure urgent opportunities for economic development
Positioning Knightstown as a place people want to live – the next growth town.
Increasing access for residents to fresh food options
Increasing youth engagement in the Town of Knightstown