Hidalgo County EMS files bankruptcy Four months after announcing new air ambulance service
Approximately four months ago, Hidalgo County Emergency Medical Services was flying high, announcing its new air-ambulance service: South Texas Air Med. Now, it’s in federal bankruptcy court, hoping to weather the financial storm. According to a news report broadcast last week on KRGV-TV (Channel 5), the company is in hock to vendors to the tune of approximately $900,000, based on documents filed in bankruptcy court. The privately-owned company owes a medical supplier more than $100,000, according to the KRGV news report; more than $250,000 to a billing service; and more than $100,000 to a flight service. The rest of the balance is for less monies owed to smaller vendors.
On some social media platforms, former employees are posting more alleged troubling news about the company’s financial situation, but ef-
forts to reach Hidalgo County EMS CEO and Founder Ken Ponce to invalidate or validate the allegations have so far proven unsuccessful.
On that same KRGV-TV report, Ponce basically laid the blame at the feet of the cities his company serves, and the people who live there. It’s tough, said Ponce, when (Hidalgo County EMS) doesn’t have any financial support from the communities it serves. By that, he means, the cities, county precincts, and other public entities served by his ambulance service don’t pay a subsidy to him courtesy of taxpayers. It’s up to Ponce and his company alone to make or break it.
This past June, the 18th , Ponce was hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the South Texas International Airport in Edinburg to introduce his Bell 407 helicopter air ambulance, which brought air-emergency support back to South Texas after the previous air-ambulance company, Air Evac Lifeteam, quit and left the RGV this past January.
At the June ribbon cutting, Ponce said, “It’s something we have been working on the past several months to ensure that this community has this type of service. In the meantime, we do have two fixed wing (aircraft) ambulances for emergency flight service to and from the Valley.”
Meanwhile, according to an announcement made public last week by Ponce, none of Hidalgo County EMS’s services have been shut down.
According to Investopedia, Chapter 11 bankruptcies, also known as “reorganization” bankruptcy, are the most complex of all bankruptcy cases. It is also usually the most expensive form of a bankruptcy proceeding. Filing for Chapter 11 suspends judgments, collection activities, foreclosures, and repossessions of property. In other words, while under Chapter 11 protection, Hidalgo County EMS’s creditors will not be allowed to pursue debts or claims that arose before the bankruptcy was filed.(Source: Slate.com.)