Eaton selectman Richard Fortin with ambulance proposals

Eaton Selectman Richard Fortin, who chairs a six-town group looking to sign a joint ambulance contract, sits behind four ambulance contract proposals. (DAYMOND STEER PHOTO)

FREEDOM — Six Carroll County towns banding together for ambulance service will be meeting on Monday, Sept. 16, to discuss the proposals,  received Aug. 26 from four ambulance companies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The selectmen from the towns of Eaton, Effingham, Freedom, Madison, Ossipee and Tamworth plan to meet at Freedom Town Hall next Monday, at 6 p.m. to discuss the proposals. The meeting is open to the public.

The towns are presently served by CarePlus Ambulance Service.

The contract period the towns are seeking to be covered runs from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2025. The towns asked for proposals in mid-June. Proposals were due back to the Town of Madison on Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.

The towns received proposals in binders from Action EMS Ambulance Services Inc. of Wilmington, Mass., Brewster Ambulance Service of Weymouth, Mass., the current provider, Careplus Ambulance of Merrimack and Lifestar Emergency Medical Services LLC of Ossipee.

Eaton Selectman Richard Fortin chairs a committee of selectmen from each community who are reviewing the proposals. Freedom Selectman Les Babb is the vice chair of the group.

“This is pretty much what we expected,” said Fortin of the number of proposals; he added that each company provided more than one option.

Fortin was a selectman the first time the towns asked for a five-year, multi-town contract, and at that time they only received two proposals.

The towns sought cost figures for one ambulance staffed 24 hours a day at the EMT-P/paramedic level and two ambulances staffed 24 hours per day at the EMT-I/advanced level. They also seek figures for three ambulances staffed 24 hours per day at the AEMT/advanced level, plus proposed base locations.

Each town also had individual requirements.

Each selectman from each town received a copy of the proposal, and one was filed at each town hall. Fortin said the proposals are public documents that anyone can read.

By Sept. 16, Fortin expects the selectmen will have read all the proposals, and he said, “We are going to start looking at what our options are.” He noted the  proposals came in different formats, making direct comparisons difficult.

For example, Lifestar had a chart with the cost per town per year and the total on the cover of their binder. It lists the annual cost for all six towns as $1,152,015.

CarePlus listed their “Proposal No. 1” as continuing the current coverage in years 1 through 5. The current coverage was described as being all three ambulance staffed at the advanced EMT level. The first year of this proposal was $773,331.

Action had a cost of $904,427 and Brewster had a cost of $1,500,000, and for the first year, costs associated with one ambulance staffed 24 hours a day at the EMT-P/paramedic level and two ambulances staffed 24 hours per day at the EMT-I/advanced level. Action wants a 3 percent increase for each of the four subsequent years.

Careplus appeared to have a cost of $880,191 for that level of coverage in year 1. Their pricing required adding in a paramedic cost to their proposal.

“I think at the next meeting is when we are going to know what these numbers mean after we have a chance to read them,” Fortin said shortly after the proposals had been received. He said after the towns choose a company, they will also have to decide how to split the costs between them. “We will say ‘OK who pays what portion of the bill,’” Fortin said.

Selectmen will bring the ambulance contract before their respective voters for approval in March so the contract could be put into place April 1.

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