By Sue Moore
The South County Emergency Medical Service (SCEMS) can continue to operate during the changeover to Pride Care. That was heartening news to the South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority (SKCFA) board at its regular meeting. Bill Mears, CEO of Pride Care, the acquiring ambulance service, wanted to reassure the community and the board that ambulance service would continue to operate as usual during the transition.
“The purchase may take several more weeks while the attorneys figure out whether it should be an asset purchase and how the transfer of receivables and payables to Pride Care will happen. Because the agency was a nonprofit, we have several transition questions to answer right away,” Mears said.
“Wes Schmitt, the president of SCEMS board and I are on the same page. He is a delight to work with. We will keep the status quo or even improve the service if that is possible. We will be able to get better pricing on consumables right away and will make sure that the staff is paid,” Mears said.
Pride Care is owned by a wealthy patron in California and venture capital investor, Mears told this newspaper. Mears explained that Smith sold his software business to Dell for $2.1 billion some years ago. “The ambulance service is his charity, as he truly believes in community service. All he asks me to do is come out even.” Mears has been with Pride Care since January 2015, having been in the business for 27 years.
The Fire Authority passed a resolution assigning its operating agreement to Pride Care as an indication of its intent to accept the company as the buyer of South County EMS.