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BOARDMAN Pact ends ambulance dispute



Published: Sat, November 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The contract took effect Thursday.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Township trustees and officials of Pellin Emergency Medical Services have signed and publicly released a contract for service between the two parties, putting an end to a yearlong $1 million lawsuit.

Township administrator Curt Seditz said that under the agreement, the township is not required to pay any money to the ambulance company. The settlement, he said, spells out the details of a two-year agreement for ambulance services between Pellin and the township. The contract went into effect Thursday.

The township also uses the services of Clemente and Rural Metro ambulance companies on a 24-hour rotating basis, but the contract applies only to Pellin. Seditz could not say for sure if the other two companies would be asked to sign contracts, but he said they will likely continue to operate under the "memorandum of understanding" used in the past.

Additional time: Pellin was also awarded an additional 50 service days to be given over a 15-month period starting in January. The extra days are meant to compensate the company for lost time when the township suspended the carrier from the rotation list.

The Pellin contract contains much of the same language used in the past with all three companies to describe appropriate response times and the review process handled by Fire Chief James Dorman. The chief reviews all calls every four months and may take action, including suspension, on any company not meeting required response times.

Response time: All carriers are expected to maintain a nine-minute response time in at least 90 percent of emergency calls. For any response taking longer than 11 minutes, the company must give a written explanation of the situation.

Ambulance companies are given leeway for unusual circumstances such as weather, unpaved roads and other unavoidable circumstances.

The Pellin contract, however, goes beyond the guidelines set for the other companies in spelling out the rules and order for settling future disputes between Pellin and the township.

The contract stipulates that any future disputes be worked out, if possible, in private good faith resolution. Should private resolution not work, the parties would then go to a mediator to resolve the issue. The next step would be arbitration with the arbitrator's decision being deemed final and binding on both parties.

Removed from list: Pellin brought the suit against the township after township officials removed the company from the rotation list because of a dispute over response and care issues.

The contract also enables township officials to either extend, terminate or renegotiate the agreement after the two-year expiration date. That decision would have to be made known to Pellin 60 days before the contract expires.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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