—— It appears Wayne Ambulance will be no more.
"We have signed a purchase agreement," said Jim McGuire, a spokesman for Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, which is owned by medical conglomerate Commonwealth Health, which owns a large portion of the medical services in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area.
The deal, which McGuire said was signed last Friday, means ownership of Lackawanna Ambulance will go to Moses Taylor, probably sometime in September. Lackawanna Ambulance owns Wayne Ambulance.
Just last year, they purchased the assets of the now defunct Honesdale Ambulance.
McGuire on Tuesday said the deal will likely not be finalized for a couple of months.
"It is a definitive agreement," he said.
McGuire called the acquisition a "positive development" for the "folks in Wayne and Lackawanna counties."
McGuire said the new company views the acquisition as a "positive step for improving care and service."
A statement released by Commonwealth Health indicated current Wayne Ambulance employees will be able to keep their jobs.
"All active Lackawanna Ambulance staff members in good standing at the time of the transaction close will be hired into the same positions," said the statement. "The company's leadership team will remain in place to continue guiding operations."
The statement did not say if management at Lackawanna Ambulance will be on permanently or through a transition period.
It also did not give any details about the purchase price.
Lackawanna Ambulance was established in 1998 and has built a reputation as being community oriented.
In this area, Wayne Ambulance has been very involved in the community in a wide variety of ways. Those include hosting seminars, making donations to local causes, participating in community events and more.
Page 2 of 2 - But their focal point has been ambulance services and McGuire said that will only improve with the acquisition by Moses Taylor.
"Aligning with pre-hospital transport services will enhance the continuity of care for patients," said the statement. "When the transaction is complete, our organization will work together to offer a full spectrum of health care services for individuals, nursing homes, hospitals and other health care providers in Lackawanna and Wayne counties."
David Hoff, CEO of Wayne Memorial Hospital, said Tuesday he doesn't see any major impacts of the change.
"We don't see an impact on us," he said.
Hoff complimented Wayne Ambulance on doing a "good job" for the hospital.
Hoff did say he is "glad" that "someone is stepping up to keep EMS services available in our area."
The CEO said that Moses Taylor officials did contact him about the possible merger.
He pointed out that by law, ambulance services are required to transport patients "to the nearest hospital" unless the patient requests otherwise.
One area which will be impacted in the future is care for stroke patients. Currently, Wayne Memorial is not considered a primary stoke center and patients can be transported straight to another hospital.
However, Hoff said within the next six months, Wayne Memorial should receive that qualification, something he said is positive for the area.
Attempts both last Friday and Tuesday of this week to reach Mike McCormick of Wayne Ambulance were unsuccessful.