On Nov. 21 the Town of Woodbridge and American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc. (AMR) signed an agreement whereby AMR will provide paramedic response and ambulance transport services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks per year for three years up to Dec. 31, 2010. This agreement renews an agreement with AMR which was first signed in 2001.

Under the terms of the agreement:

1. AMR provides paramedic response and ambulance transport services within Woodbridge for Town residents and visitors. The paramedic response vehicle is stationed at The Center on Meetinghouse Lane.

2. The Woodbridge Police Department is designated as the Woodbridge primary area responder at the level of first response.

3. AMR functions as a mobile intensive care paramedic level provider and at the basic life support (ambulance transport level).

4. The paramedic response vehicle provided by AMR is equipped with all equipment necessary for providing advance life support (ALS) including, but not limited to first aid supplies, oxygen, cardiac monitors, defibrillation equipment, ALS drug kit, airway stabilization equipment, pediatric ALS equipment, and other emergency medical service equipment as required by state regulations and New Haven hospital sponsor protocols.

5. Paramedics assigned to the paramedic response vehicle have a minimum of 15 months or greater experience as a paramedic.

6. All medical services provided by AMR are in accord with the New Haven hospital protocols, applicable to South Central Regional Emergency Medical System (C-Med) and state, federal and local law regulations.

7. In regard to the paramedic response vehicle, AMR agrees to respond to all life threatening emergencies in 8 minutes 59 seconds or less, 90 percent of the time for all first calls on a monthly calculation basis.

8. In regard to the transport ambulance, AMR agrees to respond to all emergencies in 13 minutes or less, 90 percent of the time for Priority 1 patients, and in 16 minutes or less 80 percent of the time for Priority 2 patients on a monthly calculation.

The response time means the total measure of time for initial notification to the AMR communications center that a medical emergency exists to the arrival of the AMR paramedic response vehicle or transport ambulance at the scene. Exceptions to the response time are extraordinary weather conditions, traffic conditions, motor vehicle accidents, mass casualty or system overload.

9. Each month AMR makes available to the Town's Administrative Officer, (Joseph Hellauer) at least weekly, the manager responsible for the transport ambulance who will detail AMR's monitoring of and the performance of the transport ambulance.

10. If the transport ambulance fails to meet the response time requirements, there are provisions for the Town to impose a penalty on AMR in the amount of $500. If the transport ambulance exceeds the requirements by five percentage points for three consecutive months, there are provisions for the Town to pay AMR a bonus of $50 for each percentage point by which the average of the pay preceding months' percent compliance exceeds requirements by five percentage points.

11. The Town pays AMR for the above services as follows:

January 1, 2008-December 31, 2008 - $245,510

January 1, 2009-December 31, 2009 - $253,470

January 1, 2010-December 31, 2010 - $262,350

In light of the response time (23 minutes) by the AMR ambulance to a medical call on Dec. 20, I requested a special meeting of the Emergency Medical Services Commission which was held on Jan. 4. In attendance were Attorney Alan Tyma, chairman of the EMS Commission, Dr. Gary Desir, Jeffrey Axt, a retired paramedic, and also Police Chief Eugene Marcucci, Dan O'Brien, chief administrative officer of AMR, and Chuck Babson, general manager of AMR. A thorough review was made of the circumstances of the Dec. 20 medical call as reported in The Bulletin.

On Jan. 9, Tyma reported the results of the Jan. 4 meeting of the EMS Commission to the Board of Selectmen.

As a result, I have requested that the EMS Commission meet monthly rather than quarterly to review the Performance Reports from AMR and to make a report monthly to the Board of Selectmen in regard to AMR's performance. The EMS Commission will next meet on Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall.

Listed below is the performance of AMR from Jan. 1, 2007 through Nov. 30, 2007:

Paramedic Intercepts

Breakdown:

Number of Priority 1 Requests793

Number of Priority 2 Requests142

Total Requests935

ComplianceYesNoPercent Compliance

Priority 1 Within 9 Minutes76132(96 percent)

Priority 2 Within 9 Minutes136 6(96 percent)

Response Location Breakdown:

Extended Care Facilities37339.89 percent

Town Calls56260.11 percent

Paramedic Intercept Median Response TimePri 14:05

Paramedic Intercept Median Response TimePri 25:12

Transporting Ambulance Requests

Breakdown:

Number of Priority 1 Requests760

Number of Priority 2 Requests458

Total Requests 1,218

ComplianceYesNoPercent Compliance

Priority 1 Within 13 Minutes66199(87 percent)

Priority 2 Within 16 Minutes38474(84 percent)

Response Location Breakdown:

Extended Care Facilities56246.14 percent

Town Calls65653.86 percent

Ambulance Intercept Median Response TimePri 110:49

Ambulance Intercept Median Response TimePri 215:47

AMR had 96 percent compliance for the paramedic vehicle for both Priority 1 (90 percent under agreement) and Priority 2 cases (90 percent compliance under agreement). AMR had 87 percent compliance as to the transport ambulance for Priority 1 patients (90 percent under the agreement) and 84 percent compliance for Priority 2 within this time period. (80 percent under agreement). AMR met the response times under the agreement for the paramedic vehicle and for the transport ambulance except for the Priority 1 patients where it was 3 percent under the compliance time.

The Town of Woodbridge is committed to promoting the fastest response and highest quality emergency medical services to its residents and visitors in accordance with the agreement with AMR. AMR is committed to perform these services. The Board of Selectmen will monitor AMR's performance and enforce the response time provisions of the agreement with AMR when appropriate.

Edward Maum Sheehy is Woodbridge first selectman