Cheshire officials approve Campion ambulance contract extension, but express concerns with responsiveness

Cheshire officials approve Campion ambulance contract extension, but express concerns with responsiveness

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CHESHIRE — Town officials approved a Campion Ambulance contract extension but said they’re displeased with the company’s silence in response to information requests.

The town and Campion are working on a successor agreement to a three-year contract, which ended in April. In the meantime, officials approved an agreement that will cover the period until June 2018.

Town Manager Michael Milone said he’s asked for information needed to write a new contract but Campion has either not responded or responded very slowly.

“It’s the lack of attentiveness and responsiveness that has kind of raised a concern,” Milone said. “We haven’t had any issues with their service delivery, but the fact that they’ve been so hard to contact and engage has given us some concerns.”

The council voted Tuesday to extend the contract for six months until the end of June 2018. Milone and councilors discussed the contract issue in executive session.

Campiondidn’t return a call for comment Thursday.

Council chairman Rob Oris, a Republican, said the service has remained unchanged under the contract extension.

“We are in no worse shape coverage-wise,” he said.

Milone also said that residents can have confidence that help will arrive in a timely manner when they call 911.

“We haven’t had any issues that are of major concern,” he said.

Campion’s contract requires the company to respond to 95 percent of calls within a specified time. The company wants to decrease the percentage to 90 percent in the next contract under discussion.

Milone said he’s requested information on why the company wants the change. He’s also asked Campion about the increased cost if the company stations a second ambulance, EMT or both in town. Milone hasn’t gotten clarity on either question.

Oris said he’s not in favor of decreasing the percentage of calls Campion must respond to within its mandated response time.

“Why would we want to make that change?” he said. “I don’t see any reasons why we would want to do that… I’m not interested in anything that is going to reduce the quality of coverage for our residents.”

Milone is considering looking at “other options” for ambulance service. That requires approval by the state Office of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

“Before you can even consider looking at options, you’ve got to go to the state,” Milone said. ”And you have to have reason to do it too.”

Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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