ROTTERDAM, N.Y. –
The Rotterdam Town Board heard proposals from EMS providers Thursday to become
the primary emergency response team in the town, but board members said it will
ultimately come down to quality of service.
presentations by Mohawk Ambulance & Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services
drew a packed crowd and high emotions. At times, board members got a
little hostile towards one another.
The board room
was hot and packed out into the hallway. The meeting lasted nearly five
hours and was attended by people eager to hear what EMS could look like in
Rotterdam in 2014.
"I think we
learned a lot of information tonight," Rotterdam Town Board supervisor Harry
Buffardi said. "I certainly heard some things that are going to help me
make up my mind as to how I'm going to vote."
REMS, whose been
the primary EMS provider since the early 2000's, said its 44 employees will
provide four ambulances dedicated to the town. REMS added it will fully
staff two ambulances 24 hours a day all year long.
"I think we
present a very good opportunity for the town of Rotterdam," REMS board member
Dean Romano said. "To provide great EMS services for its citizens as it
has for the last 77 years."
Mohawk touted its
33 ambulances, 250 employees, and committed to supply two fully staffed
ambulances in Rotterdam all year during its presentation.
"We feel we
delivered a very good proposal to provide the people of Rotterdam with the best
possible service," Mohawk Vice President of Operations Rich Brandt said. "We
feel they deserve that, and we stand by it."
difference between the two companies is the rates they charge for services.
REMS claimed to
be able to save patients $250 per call based on patients' savings over the last
In years past,
the town had to partially fund REMS for operations, but REMS said that has
reinvented ourselves as an organization so we could pay off our debt and become
sustainable," Romano said.
REMS said they
will likely have to lay-off all 44 full- and part-time workers if Mohawk is
EMS will not be able to survive if they do not have the call volume that is in
the town of Rotterdam," Romano continued.
issues were discussed during the meeting.
The first was
whether or not REMS has the certification to operate on its own. Included
in REMS bid proposal were copies of the certificates from the State of New York
authorizing REMS to be able to fully perform the duties of an EMS provider in
Rotterdam for both basic life support and advanced life support
The second was
whether or not REMS owed the town money from when Rotterdam supplied paramedics
capable of providing ALS services to REMS when the company was not certified to
do so. Romano said they have never been given a bill by the Town of
Rotterdam stating how much they owe, but he did say REMS will honor any
credible costs that the town incurred while it provided paramedics with ALS
services to REMS.
Whoever wins the
bid will serve the town for the next five years.
The town board
will meet December 11 to vote on which EMS provider they want to hire.
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