Borough seeking bids for emergency medical services

For more than 40 years Naugatuck Ambulance has provided emergency medical services to Naugatuck. The borough is now seeking bids for emergency services for the 2012-13 fiscal year. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — A subcommittee charged with reviewing how emergency medical services are handled in Naugatuck is doing something that has never been done before — seeking bids for those services.

The borough issued a Request for Proposals for emergency medical services this week. The RFP is for services for the 2012-13 fiscal year only, explained Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, who chairs the EMS subcommittee.

Rossi said the RFP will ensure the borough has coverage for next fiscal year, while giving the subcommittee some more time to find a long-term plan to recommend to the Board of Mayor and Burgesses. She said the subcommittee is not prepared yet to make a full recommendation and doesn’t want to rush it.

“This is a very critical and serious service for the town,” Rossi said.

The subcommittee was formed last July after Naugatuck Ambulance President Larry Santoro informed its members that his organization could no longer afford to pay for a round-the-clock paramedic stationed at 246 Rubber Ave. Santoro’s plan was to replace the borough paramedic with an intercept system, which would call a paramedic stationed in Waterbury.

Following an outcry from citizens and borough officials, Santoro decided to maintain 24-hour paramedic service in the borough through June 30, when the company’s current contract with Naugatuck runs out. The subcommittee was charged with recommending how the borough should handle ambulance services moving forward.

Naugatuck Ambulance has been providing emergency services to the borough for more than 40 years, Santoro said.

As far as anyone can recall, the borough has never issued an RFP for such services. It wasn’t until five years ago that the borough and Naugatuck Ambulance signed a contract. Under the contract, the borough pays Naugatuck Ambulance an annual stipend for its services, which is about $148,400 for this fiscal year.

Rossi said issuing the RFP makes selecting emergency medical services a business procedure, which it has not been in the past.

“It has to be a business process. It has to go out to bid,” Rossi said.

Santoro said he would have to take a look at the RFP before saying whether Naugatuck Ambulance would respond to it. He said the company has a history in the borough of over 40 years with no complaints and response times that match or are better than the standard.

“We provide top of the line paramedic services to the citizens and anyone in the borough of Naugatuck,” Santoro said.

Mayor Robert Mezzo said he’s interested to see what kind of response the borough receives from the RFP and that the subcommittee has his utmost confidence as it explores the issue.

“I have full faith in the subcommittee and the work Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi has done,” Mezzo said.

Responses to the RFP are due within 30 days of its posting.