Town of Thurman board members (left to right) Evelyn Wood, leon Galusha and Rebecca Hitchcock examine documents during a board meeting Dec. 13,when they voted to negotiate a contract with the Thurman Emergency Medical Services. The town and the board have been battling for a year over response rates, contracts, and funding.
Photo by Thom Randall.
Thurman As officials of both the town and the local emergency squad are now predicting they’ll be striking an agreement within days over a providing ambulance services, Thurman EMS president Jean Coulard said her squad is on the verge of obtaining Advanced Life Support certification.
Monday, she said her squad now has prepared a duty roster with 24-hour coverage with ALS technicians, and would likely receive such legal endorsement for providing ALS services by Jan. 23.
It’s a good thing.
Monday Dec. 17, Warrensburg EMS Board President Bob Farrell said his squad would not be responding to ALS calls in Thurman after Jan. 1 when his squad’s contract with the town expires.
His statement followed criticism of the board’s recent proposal to pay $200 per call to whatever area agency responds first, which Farrell said was “a bogus idea.”
Town Supervisor Evelyn Wood responded she was disturbed that the Warrensburg squad would declare they’d intentionally refuse to care for patients in town.
The angry exchange of words followed Farrell’s advice to the town board at their monthly meeting to grant adequate funding for emergency medical services.
The Warrensburg Squad was seeking $50,000 annually from the town of Thurman to cover its 100-odd calls, while it receives only $30,000 from its hometown to subsidize about 1,000 calls. Warrensburg squad officials cite the prevailing lack of health insurance coverage among Thurman residents as justification why they need such a premium from Thurman for emergency services.
Following the meeting, Wood hinted that the town board was giving serious consideration to the Thurman squad’s request for $40,000, an amount that Coulard said her agency could live with — but an amount that Farrell predicted would put patients at risk.
The remainder of money needed to assure proper ALS staffing and equipment, Coulard said, could likely be raised from donations, noting that a woman with professional fundraising experience had just joined the squad.