Woolwich selectmen

Contract changes sought for EMS hospital transfers

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 8:45am

    Woolwich Emergency Medical Services may join other area towns in providing ambulance patient transport services for Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick but several details must be worked out before the select board will sign a contract. Lois Skillings, president of Mid Coast Hospital, and EMS Director Brian Carlton discussed the arrangement with the board Nov. 21.

    Skillings said the hospital recently bought the first of a planned fleet of 18 to 20 ambulances to be used for patient transfers to health care and nursing home facilities; until the hospital could provide its own ambulance services, the hospital was relying on area towns including Phippsburg, Wiscasset and Boothbay to provide ambulance transfers. Skillings said the hospital hoped to have its ambulance service up and running in possibly three to six months.

    If Woolwich agrees to join the hospital’s “Community Transfer Team,” one of its two ambulances will be on call once a week for a 12-hour shift to provide patient transports. Mid Coast Hospital will pay the town $1,250 for being on call whether or not an ambulance transport is needed. Two first responders are needed to cover the shift, explained Carlton. He added, local emergency calls requiring an ambulance would take precedence over the hospital transfers.  

    Chairman David King Sr. had reservations about signing onto the service without first bringing the request to voters. “The legislative body of the town is the voters at town meeting,” he said, adding entering into the agreement was changing the way the ambulance service was first presented in 2019. The select board had asked for the meeting with Skillings after reviewing the hospital’s contract with town attorney Kristin Collins.

    Skillings explained the contract was only to provide stability until the hospital got its own ambulance services operational; the hospital is averaging about two patient transfers a day. Selectman Allison Hepler suggested trying the program for three months. If need be, revenues collected from the hospital could be held until a town meeting could be held, she said. The board voted unanimously to have Collins meet with Mid Coast Hospital’s administrative and legal team to draw up a three-month contract. In a telephone call to Wiscasset Newspaper after the meeting, King said he thought differences over the contract would be cleared up.

    Maine Department of Transportation recently notified the town office MDOT would be temporarily closing the Old Stage Road bridge, which is on the Wiscasset line. The closure dates are Dec. 13-16 and Dec. 19-22. King said the closure was to conduct a series of test borings in preparation for replacing the two-lane wooden bridge to be built within the next year or two.

    Selectman Jason Shaw noted MDOT’s Devin Eaton is the project manager overseeing the bridge replacement. “It’s a very busy road and I plan to speak to him directly to see if they might be willing to keep one lane open to traffic during the test borings,” said Shaw.  Eaton is overseeing the Station 46 Bridge Project on Route 1.

    Michael Sinton, the town’s trustee to  Bath Water District, introduced Nate Bodge, BWD’s new superintendent. Longtime superintendent Trevor Hunt retired. Bodge noted the planned Nequasset Road/Route 127 water project is set to begin next summer and likely stretch into 2024. The pipeline will extend just over three miles north from Woolwich Central School on Nequasset Road to the junction of Route 127 (Middle Road). From there, it runs southward eventually linking up with the current main behind Cumberland Farms on Route 1.

    Selectman Allen Greene congratulated Tommy Davis, who was declared the winner  following last week’s ballot recount for a select board seat. Greene said he had enjoyed his terms on the board and wished Davis well. Greene’s term runs until Dec. 31. The town office will begin advertising for bid proposals for the planned 2023 town-wide revaluation. Bids must be returned by March 31. And Woolwich’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Yule Sing will take place at Nequasset Meeting house at 5 p.m. Dec. 4.