Ambulance subcommittee wants to hear from public

NAUGATUCK — Before the newly-formed Naugatuck EMS Subcommittee gets to involved in the task at hand, the public will have their say.

The subcommittee met for the first time July 25 for a mostly organizational meeting.

Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, who chairs the subcommittee, said the subcommittee will look into all the borough’s options for emergency medical services.
“We all really want to roll our sleeves up and get started in this,” she said.

However, Rossi said she didn’t want to delve too deep into the debate until the committee had a chance to hear from the public.

The subcommittee will hold its first public hearing in September, according to Rossi.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses formed the committee this month in response to questions regarding paramedic services in Naugatuck.

Earlier this month, Naugatuck Ambulance President Larry Santoro said his organization could no longer afford to pay for a round-the-clock paramedic stationed at 246 Rubber Ave. He said the ambulance service would replace the borough paramedic with an intercept system, which would call a paramedic stationed in Waterbury starting in September. The paramedic would leave from Waterbury at the same time as the ambulance from Naugatuck, meeting the EMTs on the scene or in route to the hospital.

Santoro later changed his position, saying he would honor the borough contract through June 30, 2012, and maintain 24-hour paramedic service.

Although the change bought the borough more time to react, Santoro said he simply could not afford to continue paramedic services, which he contracts through Campion Ambulance, past next year.

As the subcommittee awaits the public hearing, Rossi said it will research EMS services in similar towns through the Connecticut Council of Municipalities. She said it’s not just demographics, but call volume that is important when looking at other towns.

The subcommittee is also looking at a study done five years ago by International Association of Firefighters and updating it with today’s numbers, Rossi said.

“We want to make sure that we’re providing the highest quality of patient care, first and foremost,” Rossi said.

She said the subcommittee would look at what is the most economically prudent manner to do that. She said officials are ready to explore all options, including switching providers or going to a borough-run operation.

Rossi said all the subcommittee’s meetings are open to the public and welcome public input.

Other committee members are Finance Board alternate Julie Sampaio, who is serving as the committee’s secretary, and Finance Board members Diane Scinto, Matt Katra, and Aldo Pistarelli as well as firefighter and local union President Jim Ricci. Rossi said Mayor Robert Mezzo will also be sitting in on the meetings.