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Home > Topics > Legislation & Funding

Conn. town may sign contract with regional EMS

The town has been using the service for years, but never had a written contract in place

By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich
New Haven Register

SEYMOUR, Conn. — The Board of Selectmen will discuss inking a contract this week with the regional paramedic service it has used for years.

According to Valley Emergency Medical Services Executive Director Robert Pettinella, recent legislation was passed requiring towns to have an EMS plan and written contract with their EMS provider.

“Valley EMS has been trying for years to get the Valley towns to sign a contract,” Pettinella said. “For some reason, the towns have been slow to act. In 2005, the Valley Council of Governments voted to fund the regional paramedic program. This agreement we all work under has been in place since then, and the towns have been working under that agreement since that time.”

But with the new legislation, Pettinella said VEMS “is now looking to push the issue with each of the Valley towns” it serves.

“We want to be in compliance with the law and feel a simple yet written agreement protects all parties involved,” Pettinella said. “We want to tighten up everything we have going with all the Valley communities.”

Pettinella said he doesn’t see any reason services will change for the town by signing a contract.

“We see no reason why this won’t continue the way we have for the last 30 years,” he said.

The selectmen are scheduled to discuss and possibly act on the contract at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall.

VEMS, formed in 1983, is a nonprofit emergency medical provider. Its paid paramedics work alongside the volunteer ambulance companies in Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, Shelton and Oxford, coordinating and providing mutual medical aid in emergencies.

At its July 15 meeting, the selectmen opted to table a vote on the contract in order to have the corporation counsel review the details. The contract, in part, includes a 3 percent increase each year for services but does not stipulate a term, something with which several selectmen were not comfortable.

Corporation Counsel Richard Buturla said, “It’s a simple contract” but he would recommend a “three- to five-year term,” before the town signs it.

First Selectman Kurt Miller said he’s been pleased with the services VEMS has provided.

“The Town of Seymour has been very well and professionally served by VEMS for many years,” Miller said. “We’ve never had an official contract with them, but we’re trying to improve that.”

Each of the Valley towns contributes about $30,000 annually to VEMS. Derby has not paid VEMS since 2005, under the previous Staffieri administration, but Pettinella said VEMS has “never stopped service to Derby.” The issue is tied up in court, with VEMS suing Derby for failing to pay.

Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at AskTheRegister.com.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service
©2014 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.)

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