HENDERSON — Vance County Commissioners have to decide soon whether to allow a Raleigh-based ambulance service to begin operating in their community.

North State Medical Transport has applied to the commissioners for an ambulance franchise, which county law requires before the company can pick up and deliver patients in Vance County. The law leaves up to commissioners to decide whether “public convenience and necessity” justifies issuing a franchise.

The county’s Public Safety committee — Commissioners Gordon Wilder, Dan Brummitt and Archie Taylor — will consider the application Tuesday, in time to offer a recommendation for all seven commissioners to consider Dec. 7.

North State Medical says it wants to operate vehicles capable of providing basic and advanced life support to patients.

Basic support mostly involves taking patients who’ve been discharged from a hospital to a rehab center for continued care as they recover from an illness, and helping those who need rides between medical appointments, physician practices, nursing homes and other facilities, the company said in its application.

Advance support requires having medics on board who can deal with IVs, cardiac monitors, ventilators and similar gear, and usually involves transporting patients from one hospital to another, or to long-term care facilities.

Ambulance services these days are different animals from EMS services, which respond to 911 calls and handle emergency care when someone has first taken ill.

North State has operated for 16 years, and for now operates under franchises in Wake, Franklin, Durham, Orange, Person, Sampson, Johnston, Wilson, Beaufort, Lenoir, Wayne, Craven and Nash counties.

County officials say North State is working with Maria Parham Health. The company’s application said it intends to set up an office in the same building on the Maria Parham campus that Duke Life Flight uses as its base of operations in Vance County.

A financial report included with its application said North State Medical received about $2.7 million in revenue during the first half of 2020 and spent about $2.8 million on operating expenses, for a $126,046 loss in the six months ending on June 30.

The company has about $2.7 million in assets and $1.7 million in liabilities, the latter including $495,837 in long-term debt.

The county’s franchise law has provisions that set standards operators have to follow for staffing, communications, insurance coverage and record-keeping. It also gives county officials authority to approve or veto the company’s rate structure.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.