Ambulance contract meeting Sept 30

Carroll County area selectmen and members of Massachusetts based Action Ambulance discuss the possiblity of Action Ambulance getting a five-year contract with six towns at Freedom Town Hall on Monday night (Sept. 30). (DAYMOND STEER PHOTO)

FREEDOM — A committee representing six Carroll County towns will recommend to their towns' selectmen that a Massachusetts ambulance be given the ambulance contract for the next five years.

Selectmen representing Eaton, Effingham, Freedom, Madison, Ossipee (Ossipee selectmen appointed former Selectman Rick Morgan as their representative) and Tamworth on Monday hoped to narrow the field from four prospective providers to two or possibly even name a finalist.

The towns are presently served by CarePlus Ambulance Service of Merrimack.

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; and Lifestar Emergency Medical Services LLC of Ossipee.

The contract period the towns seek to be covered runs from April 1, 2020-March 31, 2025. Voters from each town will decide in March of next year.

The selectmen sought 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.

Proposed for the first year were the following: CarePlus, $880,191; Action was $904,427; Lifestar, $1,152,015 (later amended to $1,046,716); and Brewster, $1,500,000.

Action Ambulance was asked to return on Monday. Several representatives answered questions, including Vice President John Hatch.

After receiving answers to several of their questions, the committee unanimously voted to tell their full boards that they recommend the towns' selectmen move forward with negotiations with Action Ambulance.

The committee meets next on Oct. 21. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Freedom Town Hall.

Committee chairman Richard Fortin of Eaton said that contract negotiations would begin with Action then, if the boards of selectmen agree that's what they should do.

At the meeting last month, Hatch did the presentation for Action.

"Why us? Why New Hampshire? Three of our leaders ...  are New Hampshire residents," said Hatch, noting his in-laws had a house in Freedom for nearly 40 years. 

He said if Action is chosen, it would be based at 570 Plains Road in Tamworth where Careplus is now, and the second base would be at 85 Route 16-B in Ossipee. Action would seek to communicate with selectmen with monthly meetings. He said the company would respond to town's questions within 24 hours.

"We want you to know about our continuous quality improvement information, our performance reports, on-time performance, information like response times, out-of-chute times," said Hatch. "We feel it's important for you to understand what is happening with your provider."

Hatch said they treat their employees well and give them the tools they need to succeed. He also touted Action's accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Service.

"CAAS is a national accreditation board for emergency medical services throughout the country," said Hatch. "It actually in most cases has a much higher standard than our local states. We are proud to say we are CAAS-accredited since 2008."

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