Complaints come in about borough emergency services

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NAUGATUCK — The borough’s emergency medical services has come under the microscope.

The Naugatuck EMS Oversight Committee met Oct. 23 to discuss how it will proceed.

Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, who is serving as the committee’s interim chairwoman, began by explaining that both herself and Fire Chief Ken Hanks had received complaints since the formation of the committee.

“Word’s gotten out. People are paying attention that there is an oversight committee,” Rossi said.

The committee formed earlier this year after the borough had sought bids for emergency medical services. Campion Ambulance offered the lowest bid over Naugatuck Ambulance, which currently provides emergency services in Naugatuck.

A vote to award Campion Ambulance the job was postponed by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses in May due to legal concerns.

Naugatuck Ambulance currently holds the Primary Service Area designation for the borough of Naugatuck. According to the Department of Public Health, there can only be one PSA per designated area. The only ways a PSA can be changed is if either the holder voluntarily gives it up or if the area being served can show that the provider is not adequately executing its job and putting people’s lives at risk.

Borough Attorney Ned Fitzpatrick said that the committee should request that the owners of the current EMS provider, Naugatuck Ambulance, should come before the committee to discuss and explain the complaints.

“The committee was formed, as I understand it, for the purpose of providing detailed analysis of the current EMS services. The goal is to ensure the quality of the services is of the highest rank,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick explained that the committee could only invite Naugatuck Ambulance to appear before them, but could not demand that it does.

“The committee doesn’t have the power to either compel someone to appear or to compel the provider to do something a certain way,” Fitzpatrick said.

Members of the committee voiced concerns over how complaints would be looked into and dealt with, being that most contain sensitive medical nature.

Hanks explained that there are two types of complaints; complaints regarding response times and complaints regarding medical care. The complaints regarding response times do not contain any personal data, and can be discussed openly. It is the second type of complaint that the committee has to be careful with.

It was decided that these complaints should be discussed in executive session.

At the end of the meeting, the committee decided to invite Naugatuck Ambulance representatives to its meeting this month to discuss the compliments and complaints the committee has received regarding the provider. The date of the meeting hadn’t been set as of this post.