The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 2, 2009

Change is coming to town’s Advanced Life Support services

At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on September 22, Carlisle Fire Chief Dave Flannery reported on future plans for Carlisle’s Advanced Life Support (ALS) services. As of September 2010, Emerson Hospital will no longer provide ALS services. Carlisle is one of 13 towns that presently benefit from this service. Local emergency medical technicians (EMTs) respond on emergency calls within a few minutes and provide immediate care. ALS paramedics are part of the regular hospital staff and can respond with special equipment within 13 to 15 minutes. ALS is specialized response for life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks.

Flannery said three options are being considered. Option 1 would be a regional system run by a new entity, Central Middlesex EMS Rescue Authority, with Emerson Hospital and serving the 13 towns. Option 2 would be a new entity made up of the towns running a regional system independently. Option 3 would be a new entity providing regional governance but with an independent private contractor conducting operations. He said that Option 3 may be preferred but that to make this system work the rate structure has to change.

At this time many communities are charging patients the Medicare rate plus 30% to 50%. The rate structure would have to go to Medicare rate plus 200%. He said that five communities would be the minimum to get this operation up and running. He suggested that if Carlisle decided not to go in initially, we might be able to “pay as we go” and that several communities are considering this possibility.

Selectmen Chair Tim Hult questioned the rate structure. “What part would be covered by insurance? I want to cover our risk but my personal opinion is that it should bear some resemblance to the actual cost of providing the service.” Hult asked, “What is the next step?” Flannery responded that he wants more information before he would be prepared to make a recommendation in about a month. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito