Call 4 Action - EMS discussion pulled from Mercedes agenda

A Mercedes woman claims the EMS service in the city is not up to par and that the city is doing nothing about it.

Action 4 News is looking into whether it's a case of small town politics or an EMS provider that doesn't make the grade.

Esmer Guerrero claims Pro Medic EMS ambulances take from 30 to 40 minutes to respond to a call 2 or 3 blocks away from their headquarters in the small city of Mercedes.

She's calling on her city commission to switch providers and make a decision on a new service rather than tabling the item at city commission meetings and even pulling it from this week's agenda.

Esmer claims Mayor Joel Quintanilla is the one keeping Pro Medic in business for personal reasons and not in the interest of the community.

"I think there's a connection" is what Esmer says in regards to the mayor and the director of the EMS provider.

Mayor Quintanilla says the only reason the decision has been tabled is to give the board more time to review all of the applicants.

"I myself have chosen to visit every EMS provider that submitted RFQ to look at their location, look and see how many ambulances they have in place, look at their dispatching system and GPS systems and make sure we make the right decision," Quintanilla says.

Esmer's claiming politics is steering Quintanilla's decision making as it has for the past few years in which she claims Pro Medic EMS has been late to emergency calls and alleges their paramedics didn't have basic supplies with them.

"One of my friends had an accident at her house and they didn't even have a bandage to put on her," she says.

Mayor Quintanilla says he knows for a fact that the city has not received many complaints about Pro Medic and that their monthly reports on the company are good.

He encouraged constituents to voice their concerns to city leaders.

Esmer did show up to Tuesday night's city commission meeting and let her concerns of Pro Medic be heard, but Mayor Quintanilla wasn't there when our cameras were rolling.

The mayor did tell Action 4 News that the item will be on the next agenda and the politics involved in the issue are coming from Esmer's side.

She is a proud supporter of Quintanilla's opponent in the race for Hidalgo County Commissioner for Precinct 1.

The EMS provider caught in the middle denies all of Esmer's claims saying they are not true.

Pro Medic's director of operations tells Action 4 News that the company is in good standing.

He says the company meets national standards, passed a recent state inspection and of the 1,200 average emergency calls a year, they have reportedly been delayed in arriving once or twice.

The administrator says he has the records to back up his company's performance.