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Small Town “Fires” Its Volunteer EMTs

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Too Many Missed Calls

THE TOWN OF CHESTER, NEW YORK (Pop. 12,000), cancelled their contract with the Chester Volunteer Ambulance Corps to provide emergency medical care to the citizens.

The situation has been simmering for eight months as the town tried to work out an agreement with the squad to be more consistent and reliable with their service.  While the rescue squad is primarily volunteer, they have been sub-contracting with a private ambulance company to run all their calls from 6 am to 6 pm.  However in August the private company was bought out by another firm and their response times dropped to an unacceptable level.  It was then that the Town administration decided to seek out their own private company that would prove reliable 24-hour coverage.

This past Wednesday the Town of Chester broke off their 64-year relationship with the volunteers and initiated an agreement with Mobile Life Support Services to provide full-time service.  Mobile Life already operates in the area providing coverage to two other nearby towns, Goshen and Monroe, as well as other Hudson Valley communities with 24 stations, 50 ambulances and 400 paid EMTs.

chester a chronicle easley

Mobile Life unit stages at Town Hall until
ambulance station is made available  (Chronicle / Easley)

The volunteers are belatedly complaining about the change.  They posted the following statement (sans paragraph breaks) on their Facebook page:

The Chester Volunteer Ambulance Corps is sad to announce that as of 1/15/2014 at approximately 1300 hours, the Chester Town Supervisor, Alex Jamieson, terminated the town’s agreement with the Chester Volunteer Ambulance Corps to provide emergency medical care and pre-hospital care to the residents of both the Town and Village of Chester. There was no notice or warning that the town was considering any such drastic action. Despite attempting to have discussions with the Town Supervisor as to why the agency was suspended from providing medical coverage to the residents of Chester without reason or prior notification, no response has been received and our invitations to speak have been ignored. We expect that this may be the end of the century long existence of the Corps. We ask for your continued support to work through this so that Chester Volunteer Ambulance Corps may once again be honored with providing quality, rapid care to the Chester residents.

The Chronicle reports:

But Chester Town Supervisor Alex Jamieson said the decision was months in the making, and town officials had several rounds of talks with the ambulance corps. The town was forced to make the tough decision because of complaints from seniors, residents, and police and fire officials about missed calls by the ambulance service, he said.

Jamieson also alluded to financial issues and communication problems with the volunteer ambulance corps. He said the town board’s liaison to the corps was not allowed to attend the volunteer agency’s meetings. He declined to elaborate further.

“There possibly could be litigation,” said Jamieson. “There have been ongoing issues with the corps for eight to nine months.”

Read the entire article HERE.

Mobile Life Support Services WEBSITE.

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