LEWISTON, Maine — Rumford’s emergency medical services (EMS) were reportedly suspended without giving the community or the state’s licensing agency proper notice, potentially leading to an investigation, decertifications, and fines, the Sun Journal reports.
On Monday, March 23, Rumford’s officials had notified the Maine EMS office that it had voted to order the Rumsford Fire Department (RFD) to stop responding to EMS emergencies the previous Monday, March 16, to protect its firefighters from exposure to coronavirus.
According to Maine EMS Office Director Sam Hurley, under Maine EMS system rules, the town was required to give his office as well as the Rumsford community 30 days notice before suspending EMS. When EMS votes to cease all responses to medical emergencies, Hurley said his agency considers this move as a surrendering of their license to operate in the state of Maine.
Any agency that does not give the expected 30-day notice before cancelling medical emergency responses may be referred to his agency’s investigations committee for review, Hurley said. Investigators will look into the situation and then present their information to the committee. The committee will them make a final recommendation to the board at Maine EMS.
The board will base its final decision on revoking RFD’s license and levying any fines on the committee’s recommendation.
The RFD has just 10 full-time employees, with one person already out on medical leave. RFD Chief Chris Reed requested to the Board of Selectmen that the department cease EMS runs, and the board approved the request on March 19. Five RFD members work part-time for Med-Care Ambulance and were asked to voluntarily stop working until the pandemic has passed.
However, Reed noted that the department will make exceptions for calls involving trauma and immediate life-threatening incidents.