Mutual Aid Ambulance Becomes Exclusive EMS Provider for Hempfield (PA)

Mutual Aid EMS rig
Photo/Mutual Aid EMS

Megan Tomasic

The Tribune-Review, Greensburg


Jeannette EMS will end operations in Hempfield starting Wednesday, making Greensburg-based Mutual Aid Ambulance Service the township’s exclusive provider.

The change has been underway for most of the year after supervisors in January voted to remove Jeannette EMS from their coverage area, citing a desire to look for an all-encompassing EMS provider. North Hempfield, High Park and Grapeville were the remaining neighborhoods in the township not serviced by Mutual Aid.

“We’re excited to be the exclusive provider for Hempfield Township,” said Lorenzo Garino, director of emergency operations for Mutual Aid. “This is something we’ve been working on for about a year and we’re really excited to deepen our relationship with the township and residents.”

Starting Wednesday, Mutual Aid will keep an ambulance at the North Hempfield fire station, located along Route 66.

George Reese, chairman of the Hempfield supervisors, said the ambulance move ties in with changes to the township’s fire service. In March, supervisors voted to assume control of the North Hempfield station, meaning the township incurred financial obligations, as well as property and apparatus owned by North Hempfield.

Renovations at the station, where the ambulance will be stationed, are being considered.

“Everything came together,” Reese said. “It’s good for everyone in that part of the township to get that service closer than what it’s been in the past.”

Since the vote, officials have been preparing for the change. Garino said Mutual Aid worked to ensure all areas were covered and that the provider could offer the best service possible. Hempfield Fire Chief Tony Kovacic said emergency dispatchers were notified of the change.

Randy Highlands, operations manager for Jeannette EMS, declined to comment.

This is just the latest changethis year as officials work to create a uniform ambulance service in the township.

Mutual Aid in April took over the western part of the township as well as Adamsburg and Arona boroughs after Rescue 14 EMS shuttered. Officials with the ambulance provider cited struggles with employee retention, a low number of ambulance subscriptions and decreased reimbursements from commercial insurers as factors in the decision to close.

When Rescue 14 closed, Mutual Aid placed a 24-hour ambulance at the Rescue 14 station at 470 Edna Road.

In addition to Hempfield, Mutual Aid has become the primary provider for several municipalities across Westmoreland County.

By late August, Mt. Pleasant Township became the eighth municipality in the past five years to sign on with Mutual Aid. In October, the company announced they were moving into Derry Township, where Mutual Aid had been serving 60% of residents there. In all, Mutual Aid has a 924 square mile service area.

“I’m very pleased with it,” Reese said of the changes.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, or via Twitter .

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