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Wisconsin Communities Consider Regional Paramedic Service

Five communities in Waukesha and Washington counties are apparently exploring the possibility of establishing a regional paramedic emergency response service that might cover an estimated 150 square miles.

The communities are the town of Lisbon and the villages of Lannon, Richfield, Germantown and Menomonee Falls.

"We are in the very, very early stages of discussion," said town of Lisbon Fire Chief Doug Brahm.

Brahm declined to describe the details of the proposal because he was concerned that too much premature public discussion about the negotiations could jeopardize the success of the venture.

He noted, however, that Lisbon, Richfield, Germantown and Menomonee Falls have existing paramedic services that work under the medical control of Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls.

Town Chairman Matt Gehrke dropped the first hint of the negotiations during an annual town meeting of Lisbon residents at Hamilton High School on April 12. Brahm said the town was approached about the possibility of a regional paramedic service by the village of Germantown.

Effort could help incorporation Gehrke estimated that the regional service area could be as large as 150 square miles. He said the town's role in the negotiations is evidence of the town's efforts to share services with surrounding communities. The town's willingness to share services with its municipal neighbors might be an important consideration when the state's Incorporation Review Board makes it decision in June whether to recommend the town be incorporated into a village.

Conspicuous by its absence among the list of communities in the negotiations is the village of Sussex, which is opposing the town's efforts to become a village.

There are three paramedic response services in the approximately 8-mile stretch between the villages of Merton and Sussex, along Highway VV (Silver Spring Road).

They include the town of Lisbon's paramedic service; Lake Country Fire and Rescue paramedics, which serves the village of Merton; and paramedics in both the Sussex Fire Department and Lake Country Fire and Rescue, which serve the village of Sussex.

Sussex declined invitation Brahm was asked why Merton and Sussex were not included in the talks.

Brahm said that negotiations had to start somewhere.

"Whether you start at Merton or Menomonee Falls, what difference does it make?" he said.

Supervisor Joe Osterman, who chairs the town of Lisbon's Public Safety Committee, said Sussex officials were approached about being included in the discussions but declined.

Brahm speculated that Sussex's relationships with hospitals other than Community Memorial might have been a factor in its decision not to participate in the talks. Brahm said that all municipal medical emergency response programs must be under the medical control of a doctor or hospital.

The village of Sussex's emergency medical technician response teams are under the medical control of Waukesha Memorial Hospital. Sussex has a paramedic service contract with the city of Delafield. The medical control for the Sussex and Delafield paramedics is Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital.

Copyright 2011 Journal Sentinel, All Rights Reserved.



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