Town talks about emergency services

Questions raised about structure of ambulance system in Bethlehem

— Ambulance Board Chairman George Lenhardt, who is also the Town’s newest board member and a member of the Transition Committee, said the board is currently in the process of gathering information and statistics about the quality and uniformity of care between the districts.

“We’re looking at the statistics and will make recommendations to the board when we have appropriate numbers to testify our recommendations,” said Lenhardt. “We’re also looking in to the financial aspects and attempting to get the number together to make recommendations on the possibilities to rearrange how things are done now, but we need more information.”

Clarkson said he is glad the Committee and soon the Town Board is looking at the different levels of services, and added that it is critically important to look at quality as well as cost.

“I heard of this issue before from the meetings I attended and am continuing to pursue it,” he said. “We want the best possible care for all of our residents.”

Clarkson said the town is looking into changing the contracts with the ambulance districts that will allow them to bill insurance companies at a higher rate when providing advanced life support service for a direct savings to the town.

In addition, committee members questioned the number of responders to medical situations, including the police, fire, paramedics and EMTs, and if costs could be lowered by cutting back on the number of first responders rushing to a situation.

Police Chief Louis Corsi said since the department handles all 911 calls, often officers are the first ones on the scene and those few minutes can mean life or death for patients with certain conditions. Certain cars carry defibulators and officers are trained to use them. A patrol is also sent in most cases to make sure criminal activity has not taken place.

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