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Dalton Water Commissioners Approve Ambulance Agreements
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
05:36AM / Thursday, July 11, 2024
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DALTON, Mass. — The Board of Water Commissioners approved ambulance intercept agreements with Lanesborough, Hinsdale, and Windsor during its meeting in June. 
These agreements allow the Fire Department's advanced life support ambulance to assist other departments' basic life support ambulances. 
Advanced life support is the highest level of care a department can provide. It can include pushing drugs and cardiac issues, among other conditions, Fire Chief Christian Tobin said.
"We're the only ones kind of here and in the neighborhood, and so we assist other departments when they have everything from anaphylaxis to cardiac issues," he said. 
The agreement allows either party to request aid from the other department when their resources are insufficient to handle an emergency incident.
For these services, there is a "nominal fee" of $285 to be paid to the responding intercept agency. 
"Each party shall bear the costs incurred in dispatching personnel and equipment. The responding agency shall bill the requesting agency within a reasonable period from the date of the emergency medical services provided," the agreement said. 
"The requesting agency shall pay the responding agency within thirty (30) days of billing receipt."
During previous meetings, Tobin emphasized that a common misconception is that ambulances make money, but they do not; they recoup money.
The district has been working on finding ways to make the most of the advanced life support user fee to offset the costs on taxpayers. 
Emergency medical services is 80 percent of emergency calls the department receives, Tobin previously said. 
The department is considering investing in a second unit that is available for interfacility transports when not on call. Interfacility transport is when ambulances transport patients from one hospital or facility to another. This is something private ambulances do. 
Having the Fire Department do interfacility transport would supplement user fees and offset expenses, Tobin said during a community meeting. 
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