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BOARDMAN Rural Metro receives three-day suspension



Published: Thu, September 6, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Company officials say the calculations may have been thrown off by one call.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- One of three ambulance companies serving the township on a rotating basis will be suspended from the rotation list for a three-day period for slow response times.

Rural Metro Ambulance, based on Market Street in Youngstown, will be taken off the township rotation list Sept. 22, 25 and 28 for falling below standards set by township officials for response times. The company will return to service here Oct. 1.

The township uses three companies, Rural Metro, Pellin and Clemente ambulance services, on rotating basis to answer emergency medical calls -- each company picking up calls every third day.

An agreement reached among township officials and the ambulance companies in the early 1990s stipulates that each company must maintain a nine-minute response time in 90 percent of answered calls. The companies are required to turn response times over to the fire department for scrutiny every four months.

Warning: Township Administrator Curt Seditz said a company is issued a warning, should it not meet the time requirements for emergency response during a four-month period.

If the company falls short for a second four-month reporting period within a 12-month time frame, it is given a three-day suspension.

Seditz said Rural Metro was given a warning for not meeting the standards in September 2000. He said Fire Chief James Dorman noticed Rural Metro had again dropped below the required response time -- to a nine-minute response time to 88.8 percent of answered calls -- over the last four-month period and issued the suspension notice.

Revisiting reports: Jim Jones, Rural Metro representative, said the company is revisiting reports sent to the township and used to make the calculations that led to the suspension letter. He said the times on one call may have been wrong and could possibly overturn the suspension decision. Jones is hoping to meet with township officials sometime today.

Seditz said the company was just about 1 percentage point from meeting the required time, but the rules still must be applied and the suspension is nothing personal against Rural Metro.

"We don't care what company it is, if you do something wrong we have the rules in place that have to be followed -- this is all standard protocol," he said.

Removal: In November township officials took Pellin Emergency Medical Services off of the rotation list for five days for concerns and complaints with care in four occurrences involving ambulance services. Officials sought to remove the company from the rotation list permanently in December, but an early May court order mandated the company be placed back on the list for 90 days. That time was eventually extended an additional 90 days.

Seditz said a status conference between attorneys for the township and Pellin, and Judge Dan Aaron Polster of Akron is scheduled for Sept. 18. Both sides are working on new standards that would apply to all ambulance services in the township.




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