NEWTOWN SQUARE–The ambulance services contract that Newtown Township has been working on with their current ambulance services provider, Riddle Memorial Hospital, is "ready to be executed," updated Supervisors Chairman Joseph Catania to the public at a meeting on Monday night.
The supervisors entered into a three-year tentative agreement with Riddle in February with a few minor changes to be made on language since then. According to Catania, Riddle has significantly reduced their costs to the township from $60,000 per month to $54,000 per month, or approximately $655,000 in total.
Catania said the contract will be based on three years with a 3 percent increase each year and a one year automatic renewal after the three years. Should the township choose not to renew the contract, 180 days notice must be given to Riddle. And if there is a breach in the contract, a 30-day breach period must also be provided.
"We're anticipating about $400,000 in collections and spending about $655,000, so our net should be about $255,000," explained Catania. If the township chooses to immediately start the new contract now, Catania said the township could see about $36,000 in savings. The current contract with Riddle is up in October.
In the approximate six proposals submitted for the township's ambulance services provider, the Newtown Square Fire Co. also submitted a proposal. According to Catania, the net number provided by the fire company was around $237,000.
But one of the main appeals for choosing Riddle was the gurantee of having a second back-up ambulance unit stationed in the township from around 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. In addition, the supervisors confirmed that nowhere in the contract does it state that patients would be automatically transported to Riddle.
"The primary reason that I looked at–and other members of the board looked at–Riddle was that the second ambulance unit is going to be placed in the township," addressed Catania. "The net amounts are about the same and the second unit is guaranteed to be there."
But Rhoads Avenue resident Eric Fedor, a member of the Newtown Square Fire Co.'s proposal committee, who had previously stood before the supervisors at a meeting earlier this month to urge supervisors to reconsider their decision for ambulance services to be in-house, addressed the board once more on their decision with Riddle.
"We're really trying to get this back for more reasons–it's not financial. It's for service that we're trying to get this back," said Fedor, who serves with the Paoli Fire Co., on Monday night. "What will happen when the second one [ambulance unit] is down. Then what? Is it going back to mutual aid? Is that unit solely dedicated to the township?"
To which Catania responded, "absolutely not," and Supervisors Vice Chairman Dr. Ross Lambert also added, "but that's the same for any back-up unit."
Fedor provided a list of 13 ambulance back-up units that are available in the nearby area through mutual aid.
"And they will be available if the second back-up unit is not available as well," stated Lambert.
Supervisors unanimously approved, 3-0, the motion to agree with Riddle on the three-year contract for ambulance services, as outlined by Township Solicitor Richard Sokorai. Lambert recused himself from the vote explaining that he is a member for the fire company and Supervisor George Wood was absent from the meeting.