Local News

Johnston Ambulance Service closes; owner cites healthcare regulations, paperwork

Posted August 31, 2016 1:31 p.m. EDT
Updated August 31, 2016 7:02 p.m. EDT

— A Wayne County private ambulance service that employees hundreds of people and serves thousands of patients announced Wednesday that is it shutting down at the end of the day.

Johnston Ambulance Service, the state's largest private ambulance service, provides services, including non-emergency transportation, dialysis and wound care, to patients from Onslow to Orange counties.

Owner Maynard Price said the continuing healthcare regulations and paperwork from the last few years piled up so high that the company could no longer collect money to pay bills on time.

With a workers compensation payment due to the state, he said JAS reached a breaking point.

"It is devastating. It will be devastating to the employees, but it also will be devastating to the state,” said Price. "When you take the number of trips that we run out of each day - it is going to be a huge, huge problem."

Ironically, Price said the company has more business than it can keep up with.

The 400 full and part-time employees were notified Wednesday morning that they would be out of a job by the end of the day.

Head of Operations, Keith Hayes, spent 13.5 years working for the business. Like many laid off employees, he's got a wife and kids to support, but no severance.

"There's going to be some soul searching, find out what avenues I need to take for me and my family," Hayes said.

Nursing homes, like Willow Creek in Goldsboro, said thousands of bed-ridden patients who relied of JAS for transportation to dialysis and wound care appointments are now scrambling for alternatives.

This is the fourth private ambulance company to shut down in Eastern North Carolina in the last year.