Thurman squad president Jean Coulard, however, expressed optimism that her squad would remain viable. Its co-captains Josh Hayes and John O’Neill are both scheduled to take their Advanced Life Support examinations on March 23, and the squad could become certified several months afterwards, she said.
“The outlook is very good,” she said.
Recognizing the obstacles to survival for a small squad, Thurman Town board members, however, have suggested that the Thurman squad consider merging with Warrensburg Emergency Medical Services for efficiency’s sake and to acquire ability to provide ALS services. Thurman squad officials, however, have balked at the idea, questioning whether a merged squad would allocate sufficient manpower to Thurman to meet its residents’ needs. They also have decried loss of local identity and surrender of locally-held assets, including a headquarters their members built themselves.
Coulard said that while its agency is striving for ALS certification, the Warrensburg squad could provide intercept service, rather than making full runs to patients’ homes as it has been doing since Feb. 16.
Hayes said that the Warrensburg agency was intent on continuing full-run response, so it could be the sole agency empowered to bill patients for services rendered.
Warrensburg EMS officials, present at Tuesday’s meeting, are continuing to negotiate with the Thurman board for a service contract, as they have been losing money on responding to calls in Thurman, according to Warrensburg squad Captain Steve Emerson.
Near the end of Tuesday’s meeting, the Thurman board went behind closed doors to discuss a potential contract with an unspecified corporation. No decision was reached on any potential action, Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood said.