Owls Head signs EMS agreement with Rockland

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jul 17, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham The Owls Head Board of Selectmen, from left, Tom Von Malder, Linda Post and Gordon Page, discuss the proposed EMS Agreement from Rockland at their July 15 meeting.

Owls Head — Despite the Budget Committee's unanimous recommendation that the Board of Selectmen not sign the proposed Emergency Medical Services Agreement with Rockland, the board went ahead and signed the five-year contract July 15 at its regular meeting.

Selectman Gordon Page said he met with Rockland City Manager Thomas Luttrell and tried to negotiate, asking him to go with the annual Consumer Price Index increase versus the proposed annual 4 percent increase for each of the four additional years.

Luttrell made two counter-proposals -- either using the annual CPI plus 1 percent for 120 calls for service and charging $800 per call after that, or the annual 4 percent increase.

The agreement states Owls Head will pay Rockland a base level of $96,819 for the first year, with Rockland providing up to 120 EMS responses to Owls Head. That base level is to increase 4 percent annually for each of the remaining four years.

In addition to the base-level payment, Rockland, may bill patients or responsible parties in accordance with the Rockland EMS fee schedule. Any such amounts collected will be retained by Rockland, which has the sole responsibility for billing and collecting such fees.

Despite the fact that Owls Head averages 130 calls for service per year, Page said the town has not been billed for any overages.

"The reality is that the current contract is about 10 years old," Page said, "and the escalation clause on an annual basis is no greater now than in any of the other years."

This agreement is the third five-year contract between the two towns, and Page noted, "I think there's some merit in saying we don't have to own an ambulance and we don't have to provide training and all the expense. The city of Rockland is there."

Selectman Linda Post suggested the board get clarification on where the money goes that Rockland charges Owls Head residents individually.

Page pointed out that there is a clause in the agreement that allows a joint board to meet to review performance and enhance cooperation between Rockland and Owls Head with regard to the provision of emergency medical services, with run reports and patient billing information made available, in accordance with privacy laws.

The agreement began July 1 and remains in effect until June 30, 2024.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

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