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Town of Niagara contracts Mercy EMS


Fri, Aug 12th 2016 11:20 am

The Town of Niagara Town Board voted Wednesday to enter into a five-year agreement with Mercy EMS to provide emergency services.

"We will make sure within that contract there's no 30-day out, which is what we ran into this time," Supervisor Lee Wallace said.

This decision comes after Rural Metro, recently bought out by American Medical Response, sent a letter to Wallace last month terminating its contract with the town.

The company met with town officials July 18 and confirmed it would no longer service the town from 30 days after the letter was sent.

Immediately after the meeting, Wallace said he began to try and "figure out what we could do for our residents so we didn't have a lapse in service."

He reached out to Tri-Community, Twin City and Mercy EMS.

"Mercy came to our rescue," Wallace said. "The other two basically said, 'Thanks, but we really are stretched as thin as we (could) possibly be.' So we started negotiating with Mercy."

During this time, Wallace said the Niagara County Legislature also passed a resolution supporting Mercy EMS's certificate of need (CON) for Niagara County.

"As this started unfolding, the last week or so ... I received another letter from AMR, stating that we've changed our mind. We've now decided we want to service you."

This message threw up "a lot of red flags for me" and other town officials, Wallace said. "I worry that what's to stop them in six months from saying, 'We've changed our mind again. We're not going to service you.' So we've pushed forward with working with Mercy."

The town is applying for a municipal CON, which is a "quick fix to the problem to start with. This municipal CON will allow Mercy to come in under our wing ... as of midnight this coming Sunday to operate an ambulance service in the Town of Niagara so we have no lapse in coverage."

In the meantime, Wallace said Mercy will continue to work on applying for a countywide CON.

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