Kevin McGinnis: There is a better solution than ones proposed
I am writing in response to your recent article on the meeting between Camden First Aid Association (CFAA) officials and elected and appointed officials of the four towns CFAA serves. It is interesting that the media was invited to attend the meeting when the North East Mobile Health Services division commander was told by the CFAA chief that this was not a public meeting. The CFAA board president confirmed that to me the next day, when he said that “the competition” (my service) wouldn’t have been welcome.
North East Mobile Health Services is a Maine-based service with coverage areas throughout coastal, central and southern Maine, including the Rockport/Camden region. As the largest paramedic service in Maine, we have the ability to place many ambulances in Rockport virtually overnight if the cause dictated. The CFAA chief’s assertion that there are no other potential contractual arrangements for the towns because her nearest “competitor” (North East) only has two ambulances in Rockport is therefore without foundation.
In fact, North East would have the ability to serve the four towns’ 911 needs at or above the level and quality of CFAA’s service, with trained and exceptionally qualified staff and management, for no more than the current subsidies the towns are paying. The $351,000 increase being requested by CFAA is an unnecessary expense for the towns.
North East does not generally solicit 911 service to towns being currently served by another EMS provider. In CFAA’s case, we have even offered on at least three occasions to partner with them to improve service to the area. We have offered:
To help them in development of their community paramedicine (CP) program and to assist in development of their application to Maine EMS for their CP pilot project (North East’s own application was one of the first approved in the state);
To partner in offering a more reliable transport resource for Pen Bay Medical Center for heart attack patients who needed transfer to catheterization facilities; and
To explore ways in which we could help preserve CFAA as a viable service in the community in spite of their financial challenges.
We thought that honest, cordial, and good faith discussions were had in each case. In the end, we were rebuffed and now have been classified as nothing more than competitors.
The article says that CFAA leadership is open to all possibilities but has no “plan B” to offer the towns. We suggested a plan B to them (partnering with North East), which they did not take seriously. Their idea of having the towns take over management of the service still requires the towns to pay the increased subsidy to help cover apparent past management “bad decisions.” This should be the service’s issue, not the towns’.
We would welcome a request for proposals or other opportunity to demonstrate how other services, such as North East, might cover the towns. We are confident that there is a better solution than the ones being proposed.
Kevin McGinnis is chief at North East Mobile Health Services in Rockport.