Wait and see

News that Baystate Health plans to divest itself of its ambulance service didn’t raise any immediate red flags among a sampling of officials in three of the towns for which Baystate Health Ambulance is the primary first-response medical service.

Turners Falls Fire Chief Robert Escott Jr. said he didn’t really have any immediate concerns and planned to attend this evening’s meeting with representatives of BHA, prospective new owner Medavie EMS and the other town representatives.

“My understanding is level of service isn’t going to change,” Escott said.

BHA covers both of Montague’s fire districts, the Turners Falls Fire District and Montague Center Fire District, under a contract with the town of Montague and individual service plans with the districts, Escott said.

Montague does not have its own ambulance service, but as of last summer the Turners Falls Fire District has a backup ambulance staffed by firefighters and authorized to transport patients in the absence of BHA or available mutual aid from neighboring services.

Gill Fire Chief Eugene Beaubien also didn’t raise any immediate concerns.

“At this point, we’re not sure what’s going to happen like anybody else, we do have a contract with BHA. We’re just going to play it by ear and see what happens,” Beaubien said.

In Erving, where BHA is the primary ambulance provider but no contract exists, Selectman Andrew Goodwin said he had no comment.

Speaking in 2012, a BHA administrator said Erving does not have a contract with the company because the town’s lawyer did not like some of the wording in the contract.

John Ferguson, a spokesman for Medavie EMS U.S. branch of MedLife, said last week the company intends to honor all existing contracts and commitments with the towns.

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