Penn. Ambulance Company Struggles to Return to Full Service

Penn. Ambulance Company Struggles to Return to Full Service

News Jan 03, 2018

The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Jan. 03—SWOYERSVILLE—Swoyersville's local ambulance company is trying to return to full operations with a paid staff by February, even as it deals with an investigation into previous financial mismanagement.

A $5,000 contribution from Swoyersville Borough council, after a unanimous vote Tuesday, will help the organization, officially named the Swoyersville Police Community Ambulance Association.

The organization was investigated in 2017 by state police and its insurance company investigation into financial mismanagement, new president Bob White said.

White became president in April 2017, which is when he learned of the mismanagement.

Inspections have revealed poor financial management, not fraud, and the group has made changes to prevent further problems, he said, while reading from a letter that went out to residents as part of the organization's annual membership drive.

"That's why there are new people in now," he said.

Among those changes are a new board of directors and new rules for signing checks. Only three people are authorized to sign checks from the group and each check requires two signatures. The borough council also has a liaison to the group now, councilman Adam Christian.

"We're running it like a business should be run," White said.

The contribution from borough council will help the group as it pays off debt and rents space at 99 Scott St.

Continue Reading

The group also owes Trans-Med Ambulance Inc., a for-profit ambulance company based in Luzerne, a little more than $5,000, he said. Swoyersville Ambulance must pay Trans-Med for advanced life support calls that require a paramedic.

But it was unclear exactly how much the borough's contribution would help. White said the organization is still trying to determine how much money it needs in its annual budget.

Mayor Chris Concert said bringing the ambulance company back is important.

"Do we do nothing and let the ambulance go under or do we at least say they tried?" he said. "I trust the people they have in there now."

The organization is beginning an annual membership drive. If you buy a membership and the ambulance company transports you, they accept whatever insurance pays as payment for the ambulance ride, White said. If the insurance payment is lower than the typical fee, that could mean the group waives some portion of their transport fee for members. That fee can range from around $400 to $1,000, he said.

The group is currently using volunteer members and placing themselves "out of service" with county 911 when they don't have enough people to form a crew. When an ambulance is out of service, 911 immediately dispatches the second-due ambulance for an area.

The organization hopes to return to 24/7 service that includes part-time paid employees soon.

In other business, Swoyersville will begin holding regular work sessions ahead of its borough council meetings.

Concert suggested the addition to the borough's calendar during a meeting Tuesday, and council approved the suggestion.

Council has held discussions ahead of meetings if there was a particularly pressing topic, Councilman Joseph Onzik said. But now, public work sessions will be ahead of each voting meeting, Concert said.

Source
McClatchy
B. Wellock
Munroe Regional Medical Center has launched a $26 million construction project to expand the emergency department and reduce wait times.
Dispatchers reported 67% percent of 9-1-1 calls from the hospital were unnecessary, noting the most calls received in a day was 17.
Daemen College Rescue Squad will now be dispatched to 9-1-1 calls made on campus.
Firefighters and law enforcement personnel will battle it out in an American Red Cross blood drive to see who can gather more blood donors.
In response to having the highest number of fatal overdoses in the state, Montour County first responders and community members participated in a naloxone training session.
Patients can't know what's life-threatening, the organization maintains.
EMT Mousa Chaban, 31, died from his injuries after his colleague fell asleep at the wheel and collided with another vehicle after running a red light.
Louisiana's unclear telemedicine regulations are being reevaluated to ensure patients continue receiving high quality care.
Detective Randy Knight's business, A Safe Knight Inc., offers free classes to groups on how to respond to mass casualty incidents.
For the first time in its 100-year history, Fillmore Fire Department hired three paid, full-time firefighters not working in management positions.
EMS providers responded to a total of 1,100 overdose calls last year.
Amber Williams, 24, gave her 17-month-old son cocaine and put him into a cold bath after he consumed the opiates, requiring five doses of Narcan from firefighters to revive him.
Onslow County EMS reported the frequent use of Narcan last year cost the agency $19,000.
Tonya Johnson, 43, was hit and killed by a pickup truck when she exited her vehicle on a highway.
Hazleton firefighters gathered used equipment and a truck from local companies to donate to Santo Domingo's fire department.