Pa. ambulance service to shut down area operations
LifeStar is closing satellite stations but not the company; it's unclear how many employees could lose their jobs
By Christina Tatu
STROUDSBURG, Pa. — LifeStar Response, which provides transportation services for the healthcare industry, will be closing its satellite stations in East Stroudsburg and Bethlehem by the end of the year.
"Unfortunately, with changes in our client relationships and declining reimbursement, we have opted to exit those markets," said Brendan McNiff, chief operating officer of Falck USA, which acquired LifeStar in 2011.
"We are not closing the company," he stressed on Tuesday.
LifeStar's other locations in Plymouth Meeting, Philadelphia and Harbeson, Delaware, will continue.
"We are maintaining our organization in the state of Pennsylvania. We are just making a difficult decision in closing some outlying stations, and this will not affect the delivery of services to the main customers we serve," McNiff said.
As of Tuesday, McNiff was unsure how many employees could lose their jobs.
"LifeStar Response, which runs Care Ambulance, operates and directly provides emergency and non-emergency ambulance and wheelchair-van transportation services to public and private sector healthcare programs, healthcare facilities, health management organizations and associations," stated the company's website. "The company provides its services primarily under contractual agreements with institutional payors with varying degrees of exclusivity."
Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg has used LifeStar Response for transportation services.
"Given the recent news regarding LifeStar Ambulance, PMC plans to work closely with other community EMS providers to ensure that our patients are transported safely at all times to other medical facilities as part of their continuum of care," said Geoffrey Roche, director of community and government relations at PMC.
McNiff acknowledged the company is ending a contract with a provider in the Bethlehem area, one of the factors in its decision to close the Pocono and Lehigh Valley locations. He did not say which provider that contract is with.
In addition, recent health care reforms have meant declining reimbursements for the company.
The East Stroudsburg and Bethlehem locations were satellite offices established in either 2011 or 2012, McNiff said.
©2014 the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa.
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