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Letter causes confusion about closing of Conn. ambulance service

AMR officials say an erroneous layoff notice caused concern about the New Haven office being closed

By Mark Zaretsky
New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — An erroneous layoff notice sent to the Department of Labor from a senior human resources manager for the parent company of American Medical Response sparked confusion and concern last week about more than 100 Connecticut employees potentially losing their jobs and the AMR New Haven office being shut down, officials said.

Juliet Manalan, a spokesperson for the state Department of Labor, said the agency received the notice on Oct. 4 from a Global Medical Response senior human resources manager based in Lewisville, Texas. Manalan said Global Medical Response, the parent company of AMR, retracted the notice on Tuesday, saying it was sent in error. The notice was sent under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

“This letter is to follow up in writing what I shared with you on the phone,” Karen Deaton, GMR’s vice president for human resources, wrote to the Department of Labor in a message obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

“The WARN notice correspondence sent by Global Medical Response, dated Oct. 3, 2023 ... was inadvertently sent in error.”

“Please disregard the notice,” Deaton wrote. “I apologize for any confusion or concern this may have caused.”

The original notice indicated the company was planning to lay off 156 Connecticut employees and close AMR’s New Haven facility at 58 Middletown Ave.

However, none of those people are being laid off and the facility will remain open, according to Patrick Pickering, AMR’s vice president of operations, and AMR Connecticut East Regional Director Chris Chaplin.

Chaplin said the notice “was a mistake.” He said it was intended to be in reference to AMR ending its relationship with Medically Home, a Boston-based company that provides medical services to people in their homes instead of them having to go to a hospital, Pickering said.

“There are not going to be any layoffs in New Haven,” Pickering said. “We are absolutely, 100 percent committed to the communities we serve and the Yale New Haven Health system.”

In fact, “We didn’t have any prior knowledge of it, whatsoever,” Pickering said of the errant notice.

“The New Haven operation is not closing” and “there will be no layoffs to our employees,” said Chaplin, who oversees AMR’s New Haven and Hartford divisions. “There will be no service changes or disruptions to our service area.”

He said he did not hear about it until “it blew up all at once” last week. He said he learned about it from a New Haven official while in an airport business lounge while on a business trip to St. Louis.

“What I can say right now is the relationship with Medically Home is being terminated by Global Medical Response,” he said.

Chaplin said those changes will take effect Dec. 2. Local AMR officials “are currently working on a mitigation plan to retain that program and that staff,” which includes 11 AMR nurses who went into people’s homes under the arrangement with Medically Home, he said.

Medically Home officials did not respond to a request for comment.

The New Haven location is one of AMR’s four main offices in Connecticut. Others are in Bridgeport, Waterbury and West Hartford, Pickering said. The company employs a total of more than 1,100 paramedics and emergency medical technicians in Connecticut, he said.

AMR’s New Haven office serves a portion of the “catchment area” for Yale New Haven Hospital, providing emergency medical transportation in New Haven, West Haven, Hamden, East Haven, Orange and Woodbridge.

Several other neighboring communities provide their own medical transportation through their fire departments, Pickering said.

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