New panel aims to keep Pa. ambulance service afloat

An inter-municipal committee has formed and a neighboring ambulance company is helping the financially challenged Weatherly Ambulance Association operate

By Jim Dino

WEATHERLY, Pa. — An inter-municipal committee has formed and a neighboring ambulance company is helping the financially challenged Weatherly Ambulance Association operate.

Borough Councilwoman Theresa D’Andrea, who is also a member of the ambulance association board of directors, told her colleagues earlier this week that committee members have volunteered to work on a permanent financial solution for the ambulance association. For now, personnel from Mahoning Valley Ambulance are helping Weatherly answer calls.

The committee consists of Tim Rossman from Lausanne Twp.; Alice McQuade and Jay Koch from Lehigh Twp.; Suzie Gerhard from Packer Twp., and all ambulance board members except D’Andrea. Mayor Tom Connors and councilmen Joseph Cyburt and George Miller represent the borough on the committee.

“We have a temporary operations director in place in Dave Hauptly, an EMT,” D’Andrea said. “He will be doing the scheduling, payroll and communicating with the (Carbon County Communications) center until we can find a permanent operations manager. We met with Mahoning Valley ambulance. They are covering Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”

Connors said he and Cyburt attended the Nov. 29 ambulance meeting, and he and Borough Manager Harold Pudliner met with the personnel from Mahoning Valley Ambulance.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Connors said. “We met with the crew from Mahoning Valley. They are very nice people. Harold showed them around, introduced them. So far, it seems to be working, The community has accepted these people. and we are moving forward with it.”

Connors said the inter-municipal committee will begin meeting shortly after 2019 begins.

“We will be meeting monthly or bimonthly. We will be looking at different fundraisers and community involvement. We don’t necessarily have to know when Mahoning Valley is covering for Weatherly, but borough council would like to know when we’re not covered,” Connors said.

D’Andrea also said ambulance association meetings are the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.

“They are not public meetings, but if anyone has any concerns they’s like to express they are welcome to come,” she said.

The ambulance association “received a donation, but the family does not want their name or the amount mentioned,” D’Andrea said. “Their only comment was they were very grateful for all the good services the ambulance provided for the community.”

In August, Lorraine Labor, the operations director at the time, told council the ambulance unit is $75,000 short to meet its annual expenses, and has about enough in savings to last another year.

Labor has since passed away.

She had proposed three ideas to save money:

  • Go out of service during the hours with the smallest number of calls, Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Put an ambulance tax onto property taxes, as Freeland has.
  • Assess the borough and Lausanne, Lehigh and Packer townships $18,750 each.

About a month later, representatives of Mahoning Valley Ambulance came forward to offer their help covering calls.

Mahoning Valley is a lot like Weatherly. It answers 700 to 720 calls a year, and has to call in advanced life support on more serious calls. But Mahoning Valley supplements its income by operating a banquet hall.

Copyright 2018 Standard-Speaker

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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