Oswego Councilors Consider ALS Link With Outside Ambulance Services

OSWEGO, NY – In an effort to ensure everyone has the needed life-saving care, Oswego Fire Department is proposing advance life support and paramedic links with outside ambulance agencies.

At its meeting Monday night, the Administrative Services Committee gave the proposal a favorable recommendation.

If there was a basic life support ambulance coming in from somewhere with an advanced life support patient, they’d request a link, Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie explained.

“We’d take an ambulance and link up with them. They’d provide ALS care en route to the hospital,” he said. “It is routinely done. It’s hard to say how many ambulance agencies; it could be Fair Haven, NOCA, McFee, SAVAC or whatever. You get the request and it is a chargeable service.”

There would be a written agreement, he added.

“You would link up with some of these folks outside of the city of Oswego?” asked Council President Ron Kaplewicz.

That could be the case some times, the chief, noted.

“To me this seems like we’re getting right back to where we were before,” Council Mike Todd said. “We are going to end up with providing service in the towns again … we’re just going to be side-swiping what we just tried to get away from.”

“We’d be responding to an ambulance that needs ALS,” the chief said.

“We just tried to get away from providing these services to the towns. Now we’re going right back into the agreements again,” Todd said.

The new agreement wouldn’t be the same as the city providing the towns with ambulance services, McCrobie pointed out.

“The difference is each individual event would cause us to bill,” Kaplewicz said. “There would be a reimbursement for the service provided.”

You would bill the agency and the agency would pay the city, the chief said. The cost would be around $500, he said.

“If you’re providing ALS, paramedic services, to someone that doesn’t have it, you’re stepping it up a level because the patient is in need of it,” the chief said.

Councilor Todd suggested the other ambulance services send their people to ALS training.

“Why are we doing any of this for them? We’re not providing services to those towns anymore,” he said.

“This is a situation where someone is in need of (ALS) and we provide the higher service that they need,” McCrobie said. “We are entering into agreements with other ambulance services, not other towns.”

“From what I understand, this is what we’ve done historically. And, the only reason we’re having this discussion tonight is because Medicare wants to formally have this agreement between the provider and outside ambulance service,” the council president noted.

The calls will likely be few and far between, the chief said.

“We maybe did one or two a month last year,” he added.