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Pa. Consortium May Jeopardize Ambulance Group

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Members of Point Pleasant-Plumsteadville (Pa.) Emergency Medical Services met with the Bedminster Township supervisors for the purpose of what one supervisor described as reinforcing the relationship they have in the community.

There has been a vacuum here since the departure of Dublin and Perkasie [ambulance services] and they stepped in to fill that void, said Supervisor Chairman Eric Schaffhausen. So they have somewhat of a new role and the purpose of their meeting was to cement a relationship with us.

We re important to them, he said.

Talks with the squad members were held before the regular public meeting and when asked about the presentation after the meeting, two squad members refused to disclose the content of the talks or identify themselves.

When the Dublin squad was operating, Schaffhausen said they covered a large portion of the township, answering about 250 calls per year.

Supervisor Morgan Cowperthwaite said the township continues to be covered by ambulance squads from Grand View Hospital and the Upper Bucks Regional Emergency Medical Services.

But the lion s share now is with Point Pleasant, he said.

Schaffhausen said the Point Pleasant squad receives more than 800 calls per year, which is enough to keep the organization financially solvent.

But if a new regional ambulance service should be formed, it could lower the calls Point Pleasant now gets and possibly cause some financial hardship.

[The Point Pleasant squad] wants to be certain we know they have a vested interest in Bedminster and want to keep us informed, Schaffhausen said.

Representatives from Bedminster, East and West Rockhill and Hilltown townships as well as Perkasie began meeting this year after a state study found a regional, rather than individual, emergency medical services squad would better serve this part of the county. The group is charged with the creation of a management group to oversee a potential new squad to replace the defunct services from Dublin and Perkasie.

Schaffhausen said the township is not committed to any one plan, whether that means going with a new regional squad or staying with the current arrangement.

East Rockhill Supervisor David Nyman said he met with chiefs from several ambulance squads on Monday, including Point Pleasant, to discuss options for service in the areas once covered by Dublin and Perkasie.

Charles Malinchak is a freelance writer.

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