Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Scio Board renews Wellsville Ambulance contract, but not rescue services

The Scio Town Board voted Wednesday night to renew a one year contract with Wellsville Ambulance. However, the new contract does not include rescue services. Town officials said those services would now be provided by the Scio Fire Department...a change from the existing agreement.
Town Supervisor Kim Demick said "there's been a lot of conversation about this." She added, "I'm not an expert," so she relied on the talent of those with experience to include Town Emergency Manager Jim Ames. Demick said she requested proposals from both Wellsville Ambulance and Amity Rescue. However, town officials learned this afternoon that Amity Rescue did not possess a Health Department Certificate of Need (CON) for the town and it would likely take some time to obtain one. Amity Rescue Spokesperson Brad Fields told the board that an "emergency CON could not be issued," based on information received today from the Department of Health. He said it could take between 6-12 months for one to be issued. He said, "I urge you to continue with what you have." He added that the CON issue is decided by a bunch of "Buffalo doctors that don't even know where Scio is." Fields said, however, that Amity Rescue would be glad to cover the Town of Scio and obtain a CON if the town so desired. Council member Marcia Habberfield said the issue needs consideration and it could be reviewed again in one year. Board member Pete Farwell agreed.
The Board did field a handful of questions from members of the public at the meeting, including a question about ambulance response times.
The Amity Rescue proposal was for $4,200 a year and the Wellsville offer was for $4,072.87 per year.
Board member Crystal Wiech commented that the issue went beyond just dollars and sense, saying "it's a matter of life and death." She added, "we can always change in a year." Seeking competitive bids "keeps them honest," Wiech said. Council Member Habberfield said, "in the back of my mind, this will stay active."
The Town Board approved the contract renewal for ambulance-only service by a 5-0 vote.