LINCOLN, Maine — Town and East Millinocket officials hope to start their new combined ambulance service as soon as this week.
The Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to agree to a three-year contract by which East Millinocket Fire Department ambulance workers and two ambulances will be stationed at the Lincoln Public Safety Building.
Clint Linscott, chairman of the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen, said that East Millinocket Fire Chief Les Brown is due to meet with officials from Penobscot Valley Hospital sometime this week to complete the arrangements to start the East Millinocket-Lincoln service.
“I look at this as a win-win situation for all involved,” interim Lincoln Town Manager William Lawrence said Monday. “For Lincoln, there is absolutely no cost borne by the town and East Millinocket gets to secure its ambulance service.”
The ambulance service, which will be run by East Millinocket’s fire department in conjunction with Lincoln’s, will replace that offered by Penobscot Valley Hospital of Lincoln.
Penobscot Valley CEO David Shannon has said that the hospital is considering dropping its ambulance service due to unprofitability. Lincoln Fire Chief Phil Dawson told councilors that the towns could draw revenue from the service because federal and state reimbursement rates are higher for municipalities than hospitals.
The tentative deal would allow East Millinocket firefighters to place two ambulances at the Lincoln Public Safety Building. The second ambulance would act as a backup while the first handles calls. The combined service would cover about 1,200 square miles, the 14-town region Penobscot Valley presently covers, Dawson has said.
East Millinocket would provide emergency medical technicians and Lincoln would provide drivers, with East Millinocket paying for four hours of overtime to fill in when both ambulances are handling emergencies Dawson said.
East Millinocket would pay Lincoln $75 per call. About $90,000 would be generated with 1,200 calls and $112,500 would come from 1,500 calls, Dawson said.
The contract calls for three years, a condition recently sought by East Millinocket, but has an annual out clause for Lincoln officials.