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New BHA owner runs EMS in Prince Edward Island

After two decades of building its emergency medical services in Canada, the company that plans to purchase Baystate Health Ambulance in April ventured south into Massachusetts just over a year ago.

Medavie EMS — which has contracts in five provinces and calls itself “the largest provider of EMS management services in Canada” — quietly purchased the Boston-based EasCare ambulance company in December 2012.

The services EasCare drivers perform — primarily nonemergency transportation between facilities and back-up for town-run ambulance response — is different from what they’ll be doing in Franklin County. Baystate Health Ambulance is the first responder for Greenfield and six other towns in the county.

But Medavie EMS has experience with that, too. In 2011, the company took over fielding all 911 calls for the 2,200-square-mile Prince Edward Island, according to the Journal Pioneer newspaper.

The size of EasCare’s 550-employee company has stayed relatively unchanged in the past year, according to its website and an announcement about the sale last year. They have 10 locations across eastern and central Massachusetts, including Boston, Plymouth and Worcester.

John Ferguson, a spokesman for Medavie EMS’ United States branch, said that since the EasCare purchase last year, the company has been pitching its services to health organizations across the state. Conversations soon began with Baystate Health, which was looking part ways with its ambulance service to focus more on medical care in its facilities.

Ferguson said that the company will perform all of the services Baystate Health was doing in Franklin County, but would also eventually like to introduce new ones, too.

In Canada, the company has begun sending paramedics to “skilled nursing facilities.” Patients who visit these facilities can often be treated there instead of being transported to a hospital, a cost-saving measure for all involved, he said.

Ferguson said his company is in discussions with an organization in the Boston area, whom he declined to name, about setting up this type of facility. But it’s unclear when a deal will be struck or if the state’s Department of Public Health will need to grant approval for the project.

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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