Commissioners vote to end contract with Liberty County EMS

Liberty County commissioners on Friday, Dec. 4, voted to end a longstanding contract for ambulance service with Liberty County EMS and hire Allegiance Mobile Health to take over operations effective immediately.

County Judge Jay Knight claims Liberty County EMS was in breach of its contract for having only two ambulances to serve the unincorporated areas of the county while the agreement was for three ambulances. The recent reduction in ambulances is the result of funding shortfalls that Director Mike Koen explained in a special meeting in November.

Knight said that Liberty County has agreed to pay Allegiance Mobile Health $70,000 a month to provide five ambulances with basic medical service and one with advanced life support, and a chase vehicle manned by a supervisor who typically can respond quicker than an ambulance and provide advanced life support until an ambulance arrives. Liberty County EMS was being paid $77,000 per month by the county.

“Allegiance will have three ambulances on the east side of the county and three on the west side,” Knight said.

The exact locations where Allegiance will be stationed throughout the county will be determined by Friday evening, but Knight said the locations will be in the communities of Westlake, Plum Grove, Tarkington, Devers, Hardin and Daisetta. The cities of Liberty, Dayton and Cleveland have their own contracts for ambulance service.

“We are going to keep it on a month-by-month basis until we can evaluate things and see where we are. The timeliness of the situation was kicking our rears. We had to do something to make sure the whole county was covered,” said Knight. “We consider Mike [Koen] and all the Liberty County EMS folks part of our Liberty County family, so this was not an easy thing to do. No one on commissioners court wanted to do this. In regard to public safety, we had no choice.”

Knowing that Liberty County EMS was struggling financially and unable to keep a third ambulance in rotation without more money from the county, commissioners recently voted to request proposals for ambulance service with the cut-off date set for Dec. 14.

Knight said commissioners will review those proposals and consider the possibility of taking over operations of Liberty County EMS, an idea that was floated by Koen during that November meeting.

“In medical terminology, we’ve just put a tourniquet on this and the bleeding has stopped for now, but we still have a surgery ahead,” Knight said.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


  1. You get what you pay for! I my opinion (an Ezt nurse) I trust those with LCEMS to provide appropriately care to the patients based on their needs.

    • Well the thing about getting what you pay for is that a lot of the LCEMS employees that lost their jobs today have been hired by Allegiance to continue to serve the county. So we should still continue to receive the care needed in the county but with more units available to respond faster.

  2. So for less money you get 3 times more ambulances in liberty county… Easy call business wise… Sounds like someone at LCEMS wasn’t financially savvy

  3. The sad part about this is the fact that the geriatric POS Mike Koen was greedy and spiteful. The failure of that company is 100% on him. You don’t just “blow through” that money… smells fraudulent. Begging for bailouts for the remainder of the year monthly isn’t a thing! The County definitely did the only thing they could here… thanks to that crooked POS Mike Koen.

  4. 70 thousand a month for five ambulances and a lead vehicle is potatoes. That’s going to be barely enough to cover payroll. Allegiance is going to loose money, they hanging themselves. They don’t get paid for half the trips due to people not having insurance, and one ALS truck? I hope nobody goes into cardiac arrest at the same time.

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