This letter was submitted by FirstHealth of the Carolinas CEO Mickey Foster.

As the Lee County Board of Commissioners begins to hold public hearings on the future of the county’s Emergency Medical Service, I want to provide this open letter to the community on why FirstHealth of the Carolinas submitted an application to provide EMS services in Lee County.

First, let me provide a quick overview of FirstHealth. We’re an award-winning, not-for-profit health system serving 15 counties in the mid-Carolinas, including Lee County. FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital was just recognized as one of the 100 Top Hospitals by IBM Watson, and we are the only hospital in North Carolina to be recognized this year. We employ more than 5,300 people, operate four hospitals and more than 70 primary care, convenient care and specialty clinics.

Lee County is and has been a key part of our service area. We have been providing services in Lee County for many years, and we recently made a sizable investment in the county when we opened our FirstHealth Lee Campus location in 2018. Our nearly $25 million investment in Lee County has spurred job and economic growth. We are proud to be serving thousands of Lee County residents through our local primary care, specialty care, convenient care clinics and fitness center. Just last year, FirstHealth provided care to Lee County residents through more than 62,000 patient visits throughout our system.

As the county continues to grow, FirstHealth is primed to continue our expansion of services, including providing EMS services, if we are selected by the Board of Commissioners. Our first transport, more than 25 years ago, has led to a long-standing history of providing exceptional ambulance services in multiple counties.

We are currently providing EMS services in Chatham, Montgomery and Richmond counties, covering a footprint of 3,200 square miles. We employ more than 150 EMS personnel and operate 45 ambulances, and we have a proven track record of success. In the last 12 months, we have responded to 26,000 calls and transported more than 20,000 patients. We have the infrastructure and expertise to bring our long-standing and quality EMS service to Lee County.

I was born and raised in Lee County, and my parents live here, so FirstHealth’s presence in this area is personal for me. I am confident that FirstHealth’s EMS model will deliver top-quality EMS services to the residents of Lee County. Our award-winning health care system is committed to providing high-quality, patient-focused care in all the communities we serve, and Lee County is no exception.

Thank you to the Lee County EMS committee for recommending FirstHealth to the Board of Commissioners, and thank you to the citizens of Lee County for your continued support. It is an honor and pleasure for FirstHealth to serve this community.

Mickey W. Foster, MHA

CEO, FirstHealth of the Carolinas