AUBURN — Fire officials will give the public a glance at their plans for a city ambulance service Sept. 12.
Fire Chief Frank Roma said the public session will be a broad discussion about the issue and the history of emergency response in the city. A detailed discussion will wait until a public hearing with the Auburn City Council on Oct. 7.
"Quite honestly, the council deserves to hear the full meat-and-potatoes first," Roma said. "We just want to talk about the EMS delivery and transport in general and hear if there are any concerns out there, pro or con. We need to take those into mind as we formalize our presentation to the City Council."
The public information session is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the city's Central Fire Station, 550 Minot Ave.
The city currently sends EMT-trained fire personnel in a rescue vehicle to most emergencies. City EMTs stabilize patients and hand them off to United Ambulance for transport. United Ambulance pays the city a $100,000 annual fee to provide the service. The city doesn't get any other financial gain from the situation, since insurance companies don't reimburse for emergency response, only for transport.
Councilors considered a similar idea in 2008 that would have replaced one emergency rescue vehicle with a leased ambulance. The city could then have billed insurance companies for the medical transport, making back some of the money it spent. Overall, the service was expected to bring in $193,000 for the city.
Councilors backed off that plan a year later, in favor of charging United Ambulance the fee.
Roma said the current idea would send a city ambulance to emergencies. Non-emergency medical transport and ambulance service would be left to private ambulances.
"While there is revenue to be generated, our primary focus is enhancing the level of service to the community," he said. "In terms of what those projections might look like based on our call load, that needs to wait until the council has a chance to hear it first."