Saratoga County

Greenfield ambulance coverage is changing

Community Emergency Corps will take most of the territory Saratoga Springs was going to handle

GREENFIELD —  An ambulance corps based in Ballston Spa and Corinth will be splitting coverage in the town of Greenfield for 2020, after a plan for Saratoga Springs to take over coverage in the southeastern part of town fell through.

While final agreements on money and service territories are still being reached, the new arrangements with Community Emergency Corps to the south and Jessup’s Landing to the north took effect on New Year’s Day, Greenfield Town Supervisor Dan Pemrick said.

The change means only two EMS companies, instead of three, will be primary ambulance service providers for the town.

The southeast part of town, which includes the Prestwick Chase senior care complex, has been covered by Wilton Emergency in recent years. The town sought new bids after Wilton proposed a price increase two years in a row.

While the city of Saratoga Springs — which actually has the closest ambulance station — negotiated a $60,000 contract for the coverage previously provided by Wilton, some city residents objected, and the contract wasn’t brought to the City Council as planned in December. Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin, who left office at the end of the year, said he didn’t have the votes to get it passed.

Pemrick said he understood that Saratoga Springs officials faced anger from some residents of the city’s east side, who have complained for years that the city needs a separate emergency station on its east side. “I’m not disappointed in that situation,” he said. “Saratoga needs to take care of its own self first.”

The proposed solution Greenfield officials have developed includes Jessups Landing covering additional territory in the northern part of the service area, and Community serving the southern part, with the boundary between them roughly following Daniels Road.

“We have come to an agreement with them,” said Ray Otten, general manager of Community Emergency Corps. “Our main thing is we don’t want the patients to go without.”

Pemrick said the final contract with Community will be for around the same amount as the proposed Saratoga Springs contract. Community already has a $50,000-per-year contract with the town to provide emergency medical coverage in the Middle Grove area.

Greenfield has split the town among different ambulance services since 2014, after the town dropped its contract with Empire Ambulance, a private provider that had an ambulance based in Saratoga Springs. The total cost to the town this year will be close to $160,000, Pemrick said.

Both Wilton and Saratoga Springs ambulances may still respond to emergencies in Greenfield at times, as part of the Saratoga County mutual aid system. “It’s all about patient care, and when one of our guys can’t get there, and if someone else can get there faster, then [we] can make a mutual aid request,” Pemrick said.

“We’re interested in patient care and getting a reasonable price for service,” Pemrick said. “We’re fortunate to be surrounded by outstanding ambulance corps that can do an excellent job.”

Otten said that based on the volume of calls in its parts of Greenfield — about 100 per year in Middle Grove and 100 to 150 in the new service area — the corps will probably have to hire another paramedic. Community responds to about 2,400 emergency calls per year, ranging from traffic accidents to home medical emergencies, Otten said.

Community is in the early stages of looking at moving its ambulance station to the Milton Center area, since would be closer to the geographic center of its service territory, which includes growing parts of the town of Milton as well as Ballston Spa, Otten said.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: News, Saratoga County

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