Thursday, 18 April 2013 19:47

Greenfield Struggles to Answer Ambulance Problem

By Patricia Older | News

GREENFIELD CENTER – According to a report issued by the town of Greenfield Ambulance Committee, the town has only a couple of choices when it comes to ambulance service – either start their own or get a central location and hire a service to staff and run it. 

The Ambulance Committee charged with looking at the problem the town of Greenfield Center has had since its ambulance provider – Corinth Emergency Squad – went out of business is leaning toward the recommendation the town start its own service. 

But town supervisor, Dick Rowland, wants the town residents to tell him what they want. 

“The question is, does the populace want to hire a more extensive ambulance service and do they want to pay for it,” said Rowland, noting that a public hearing had been set for May 2 at 7 p.m. in the town’s community center. 

Greenfield was faced with having to find an ambulance service when Saratoga Emergency Medical Service went out of business a few years ago. Rowland said he was notified SEMS was closing their doors one month prior to the company ceasing operation. 

The town immediately began looking at what their options were including Community Emergency Service in Ballston Spa, Wilton’s and Jessup Landing’s.  Rowland asked for proposals to cover emergency services for the town. 

He said that Jessup Landing suggested a flycar, which is a paramedic response vehicle stationed in a central location and supported with a paramedic 24/7. If there is a need for emergency response, the paramedic would respond and an ambulance would follow. 

Rowland said they really wanted a real ambulance service, so they looked at the proposals from Empire and Wilton. 

“Two years ago we got results of reports for Wilton and Empire,” explained Rowland. “Empire’s came in at $50,000 and they bill the patients; Wilton wanted $160,000 and to have an ambulance in borrowed space.”

Rowland said since they budget already had $50,000 available, they went with Empire. 

“It made the most sense,” Rowland said. 

In the meantime, a committee was formed to determine what route would be the best for the town in the long run. 

“They were charged with giving us options but not decisions,” said Rowland, “But the committee has seemed to have taken on the role of decisions.” 

He said “rumors [began] to float around town,” concerning Empire’s performance, so he requested their records. 

“Those records showed at least a paramedic and an EMT were on every run,” said Rowland, adding that they next had Empire send out a blind survey created by the committee to see if patients were happy with the service. 

“We had a 10 percent response and all related positive responses except for one and it really wasn’t a complaint,” said Rowland. 

He said that to continue with Empire’s service, the cost to the residents is approximately seven cents per thousand. 

“If we start an ambulance service from scratch, it would cost even more,” said Rowland, adding that even if they contracted out with an in-town service, taxes would go up for people.

“We need to hear from the residents,” said Rowland. “It is going to make an impact on people’s lives medically and financially and it is important to me they let us know what they want,” said Rowland. 

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