The Wayne County Commissioners held their weekly meeting on Friday. The meeting was moved from Thursday due to a scheduling conflict.
- The Wayne County Commissioners held their weekly meeting on Friday. The meeting was moved from Thursday due to a scheduling conflict.
During the public comment section of the meeting, Gerald Williams brought up a letter to the editor about "ambulances fighting for services."
The letter, written by Gary Williams of Waymart, related his experience with Honesdale EMS and Hawley Ambulance.
In the letter, Williams started his journey to Wayne Memorial Hospital with Hawley Ambulance and the run was finished by Honesdale EMS.
As a result, both organizations submitted a bill of $600 to Gary Williams.
Gerald Williams asked the commissioners how they felt about this instance.
"Do we really need two ambulances competing?" he said.
Commissioner Brian Smith offered his thoughts on the situation, recalling a time when Honesdale EMS said "they could no longer provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) services to the whole county," because of financial reasons.
"When that decision came out publicly," Smith said he feels it "may have opened the door for other companies" to come into the area to provide services.
Because Wayne Ambulance is a private company, Smith said that the commissioners "have no control" over who wants to open a business or what type of business is being opened. Smith added that "as long as they have the proper permits," both companies can operate lawfully within the county.
It was also noted by the commissioners that they are obligated to dispatch "the closest available ambulance" by the Pennsylvania Medical Services of NEPA.
The ambulances are chosen for dispatch using an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system. This system "determines who is the closest available unit" to the location of the emergency.
Smith stressed that "life is the most important factor" in the choice of who is dispatched.
Commissioner Jonathan Fritz also added that "there is no favoritism for one company over the other" in determined which unit is dispatched to the scene. He also added that dispatchers "depend on technology" to send services.
Gerald Williams also asked the commissioners about where the status of natural gas drilling in Wayne County.
Smith said that they "have been in conversation" with Gov. Tom Corbett, Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) executive director Carol Collier and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) secretary Michael Krancer about the issue.
Commissioner Wendell Kay said that he and Smith both testified at a DRBC hearing "advocating safe" natural gas drilling in Wayne County.
Fritz added that Collier "anticipates a vote" on the issue to be held in November.
The remaining portion of the commissioners meeting will be covered in the Tuesday edition.