Regional ambulance service says it will still respond to town that suspended EMS

Med-Care Ambulance employees said they will continue to serve the community without town assistance despite disagreeing with the town's decision


Matthew Daigle
Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine

RUMFORD, Maine — The union representing employees of Med-Care Ambulance announced Tuesday that it would continue responding to calls in Rumford, despite a vote by selectmen two weeks ago to suspend emergency medical services.

The vote by selectmen was held March 16 after Rumford Fire Chief Chris Reed said terminating emergency medical services during the coronavirus pandemic would prevent firefighters from being exposed to the virus.

Med-Care, a regional ambulance service that serves 11 Maine municipalities, said it will continue to respond to the town of Rumford despite the town suspending its own EMS. (Photo/Med-Care Ambulance Facebook)
Med-Care, a regional ambulance service that serves 11 Maine municipalities, said it will continue to respond to the town of Rumford despite the town suspending its own EMS. (Photo/Med-Care Ambulance Facebook)

The Rumford Fire Department has five firefighters who work part-time for Med-Care Ambulance.

Pete Allen, a paramedic with Med-Care Ambulance in Mexico, said, “While we, the employees of Med-Care Ambulance, do not agree with (Rumford’s) decision to terminate their response to EMS calls, we will continue to provide EMS services to the citizens of Rumford.”

“Rumford’s EMS service has become an integral part of our response plan and losing their assistance puts a heavy burden on the employees of Med-Care,” Allen added.

A week after Rumford officials voted to suspend EMS services, Maine EMS Director Sam Hurley said that under Maine EMS system rules, Rumford was required to give 30 days notice to his office and the community before suspending emergency medical services.

Agencies that fail to provide the proper 30-day notice before ceasing to respond to medical emergencies may be referred to his agency’s investigations committee for review, he said.

“I can’t speak to the investigations committee and what they are or aren’t reviewing at this time,” he said, adding, “I can’t say whether or not (Rumford’s action) will go to the committee.”

Any EMS provider or individual can be referred to an investigations team at Maine EMS, which has certified Maine’s more than 5,000 EMTs.

Investigators will look into all aspects of the situation, then present that information to the committee, who, in turn, will make a recommendation to the board at Maine EMS, Hurley said.

The board will make a final determination, based on the recommendation of the committee, he said.

The board has the authority to revoke a license and bring a disciplinary action and/or a fine.

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©2020 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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