A member of the Town Council on Tuesday expressed his disappointment at the response the town received from the South Windsor Ambulance Corps regarding the town seeking requests for proposal for advanced Life Support service from ambulance providers.
Town Councilor Keith Yagaloff said at the council’s regular meeting that a letter dated Jan. 22, 2013 that was signed by the ambulance corps’ seven board of directors failed to address the town’s concerns about the level of service the town receives from South Windsor Ambulance Corps.
The letter, which Mayor Tom Delnicki read into the record, states, “Simply saying that the Town wants to have Advanced Life Support services based in the town is not enough; there are a multitude of possible deployment models which exist for the provision of Advanced Life Support services.”
Merely pursuing advanced life support will not bring the results that the town is seeking, the letter says.
The letter further states that instead of having the town issue an RFP for Advance Life Support services, the town should issue an “RFP for an independent Emergency Medical Services industry consultant to conduct a study to advise the town on the various Advanced Life Support deployment options which will best suit the community.”
Yagaloff said that this was not the approach for which he had hoped.
“I’d like to see the ambulance corps say what it will do for us to move forward for advanced life support service,” Yagaloff said.
The issue of the level of service that South Windsor’s ambulance contractor provides has been subject to debate for a number of years.
The South Windsor Ambulance Corps, the town’s primary ambulance provider, offers EMT, or basic life support, service. It does not, however, offer advanced life support - or paramedic - service.
The town currently has what is known as “paramedic intercept” in which a South Windsor Ambulance meets up with an advance life support ambulance en route to the hospital to provide advance life support, South Windsor Ambulance Corps President Larry Gorman said in an interview over the summer.
The issue was brought into sharp focus upon the death of Hannah Patrie, a 15-year-old girl who collapsed at South Windsor High School during a conditioning exercise at a dance camp last summer. Patrie lost consciousness and died.
One of the questions surrounding Patrie’s death was the response time of the town’s first responders. An Aetna ambulance that is part of the Ambulance Service of Manchester eventually brought Patrie to the hospital about an hour after the initial call came in. (While Patrie wasn’t transported to the hospital for that amount of time, she was at least being worked on by emergency personnel during that period.)
According to police and Gorman, South Windsor Ambulance Corps did not respond to the Patrie call because one of the two ambulances belonging to the SWAC was out on another call, while the other was not on the road because it was being serviced.
The cause of Patrie’s death has not yet been released by the state’s medical examiner. Attorneys representing the Patrie family have filed a notice of intent to sue the towns of South Windsor and Manchester.
The subject of whether the town should upgrade to Advance Life Support services for its ambulance corps was brought up at a Town Council meeting in March 2012.
In that meeting, Gorman said that it would cost the town between $500,000 and $700,000 to upgrade its ambulance service from basic to advance life support.
Gorman also said that South Windsor Ambulance responds to 1,600 to 1,800 calls per year. Out of those calls, about 40 percent are “advance life support calls,” Gorman said.
But at the Town Council meeting on Dec. 17, 2012, Galligan said that the town could obtain advance life support services for no additional cost. He did not elaborate how that would be done.