June 22, 2018
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Camden area towns to see no break in EMS coverage

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

CAMDEN, Maine — There will be no emergency medical service interruptions next month as four towns transition to a new provider for the first time in 77 years.

Camden First Aid Association and North East Mobile Health Services issued a joint news release Monday afternoon stating that they would work together on a transition plan and that there would be no interruption in service to Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville and Hope — towns served by Camden First Aid.

North East had sought a four-month transition if it was to receive the contracts to serve the four towns. But last week, after Camden voters agreed to fund only enough money for North East, Camden First Aid EMS Chief Julia Libby said that she plans to shut down the nonprofit organization on July 1, well below the transition sought by North East.

“A transition period will be established and a transition team, consisting of representatives of the two services and the towns, will be initiated,” the two organizations stated in the news release. “During the transition period, the public will be served throughout as the two services share response to calls and staff in a way to gradually increase NEMHS’ handling of calls, while CFAA gradually decreases its role.”

North East Chief Kevin McGinnis stated that his company interviewed a number of Camden First Aid staff members this past week and expect to smoothly integrate those it hires over the transition period.

Libby is quoted in the news release as saying that Camden First Aid fully supports this undertaking and intends to maintain its prompt and effective medical, life-saving services until the last day of the organization’s existence.

During the past week, voters in Camden, Rockport and Lincolnville approved money in their towns annual budgets for emergency medical services that would be at the level proposed by North East and well below what Camden First Aid had sought.

The Rockport Select Board approved Monday night a contract with North East for two years, running through June 30, 2015.

The Camden Select Board is scheduled Tuesday evening to authorize Finnigan to negotiate a contract. Finnigan said she expects to hear something later this week on when the switch would occur between providers and that a contract with North East would be done before that date.

Lincolnville Town Administrator David Kinney said if the contract has been finalized, he would expect a vote of the Select Board on June 24.

Camden First Aid has provided emergency medical care to the Camden area since it formed in Camden in 1936

The organization’s loss of the contract follows its request in February for a dramatic increase in subsidies. It proposed increasing fees from the four towns from $57,000 in the current year to $407,000 in each of the next two years.

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