The cost of emergency medical services is increasing for Walker, Catoosa and Dade counties, but the level of overall coverage will be better, officials said.

The Northwest Georgia EMS Council met in Dalton on Thursday to approve new plans for the counties. Hutcheson Medical Center announced in October that it will discontinue its ambulance services by midnight Dec. 31.

Catoosa and Dade have contracted with private companies. Walker is beginning its own ambulance service with $1.2 million from its special purpose local option sales tax (SLPOST). County officials plan to eventually have up to eight emergency vehicles ready at all times and hire 30 people, Ashburn said. 

“Everything will have brand-new equipment on it, state-of-the-art, first-class,” Ashburn said.