HOUSTON – The emergency medical service that serves approximately 900,000 residents in north and northwest Harris County was “fired” Thursday by the Emergency Service District that oversees it.
The vote was unanimous.
Emergency Service District #11 board members said that Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Service had violated the terms of its contract and there were no dissenters during the vote.
Cypress Creek EMS was provided with a “360-day notice to terminate,” but will be expected to answer 911 calls and perform normal duties during that time.
Just in case, Emergency Service District #11 also voted to enter into an agreement with the Harris County Emergency Corps Thursday, to respond to calls and fill gaps when needed.
Several issues have developed between the entities over the years, many involving a perceived lack of financial transparency by Cypress Creek EMS. The financial aspect is of great importance because the company has received more than $100 million in property tax dollars since 2011.
KPRC 2 has previously reported on problems with Cypress Creek EMS oversight within the organization and administration transparency. In 2019, Channel 2 Investigates discovered the administrator in charge of ambulance maintenance was fixing private vehicles on the side during his tax-payer funded shift.
After that report was released, Cypress Creek EMS refunded more than $38,000 back to Emergency Service District #11.
In May, the Chief Operating Officer of the organization admitted that he also had his personal vehicle fixed at the garage.
Cypress Creek EMS did not respond to a request for comment, Thursday.
Emergency Service District #11 issued the following statement about the vote:
“Today, Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 (the “District”) voted to give Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (“CCEMS”) 360-days’ notice that the District is terminating its Service Agreement with CCEMS. The Service Agreement allows either the District or CCEMS to terminate for convenience and without cause at any time, with proper notice. The District’s decision was not made lightly, but is one the District believes will enable it to provide the highest quality of emergency medical care to its residents while improving transparency and efficiency.
The District’s decision comes after years of trying to get CCEMS to cooperate with the District’s requests for improvements to the services CCEMS provides, and years of trying to get CCEMS to fairly and properly account for its use of taxpayer dollars. CCEMS has resisted the District’s efforts on both fronts, as documented in at least sixteen months of correspondence between the parties posted on the District’s website. While the District’s decision gives CCEMS 360 days to prepare for the termination of the Service Agreement, the District reserves the right to immediately terminate the Service Agreement if the District finds it necessary to protect its residents or taxpayer funds.
In the meantime, the District is confident that a smooth transition will be achieved with the help and cooperation of CCEMS management. Such cooperation includes CCEMS delivering on the promise it made today to provide the District with all documents requested in connection with the District’s ongoing investigation into CCEMS’s use of taxpayer dollars. Further, the District knows that the men and women of CCEMS will provide the highest quality of care to the District’s residents over the next year.
The District expects that the coming changes will bring new opportunities for its residents to realize improved care and accountability, and for CCEMS field and communications center staff to continue contributing their skills and training to District residents as the District begins its next chapter.”