Timeline of Events

Future Events

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8pm
Springfield Township Board of Commissioners public meeting, televised on local access channel

Past Events

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 7pm
Caucus meeting with Springfield Township Board of Commissioners
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Three members of Springfield Ambulance Corps leadership meet with Lee Fulton, Robert Woolson, and three Springfield Township commissioners, including Jeffrey Rudolph, President of the Board of Commissioners, Lee Janiczek, and Bob Layden.

SAC: Springfield Ambulance Corps representatives
SPRFLD: Springfield Township representatives

SAC started out with a bit of a history of how we got to this step.
SAC explained how we have not missed but one primary run this year.
SAC explained how we changed our method of addressing secondary ambulance runs by taking the second ambulance out of service when it is not staffed to allow the calls to immediately be dispatched to another township without waiting the 6 minutes for a local crew to try to respond and how the commissioners, by way of the safety committee meeting and the township safety director applauded this change.

SPRFLD: The issue is the second ambulance runs that are not being covered by your second ambulance. These need to be covered and this new contract will allow SAC to cover those while Crozer-Keystone Health System covers the primary runs.

SAC: Explained how we have a backup ambulance and NOT a secondary ambulance. The entire purpose of having that backup ambulance was to make sure the township was covered during times when our primary ambulance was out of service with mechanical problems or other issues. It was asked how that turned into a liability instead of the asset that it was intended to be.

SAC: If the issue of secondary calls was such an issue, why was the Ambulance Corps never approached?

SPRFLD: We asked several times if your were going paid.

SAC: How does that translate into your unhappiness with our second responses. In all situations we replied that we would not go paid while we had a staff of volunteers that was willing to staff our ambulance. Why would we pay for staff when we have staff that are willing to volunteer.

SAC: How do you intend to deal with the issue of copays that our subscribers do not have to pay?

SPRFLD: It will be worked out in the contract.

SAC: But Crozer-Keystone Health System has to collect copays according to Medicare law, how ill that be addressed with the subscribers.

SPRFLD: It will be worked out in the contract.

SAC: What do you tell the residents to do with their bills when they are dunned for the copays and deductibles, do you still think they should throw them out?

SPRFLD: Affirmative nod.

SAC: If you do this contract, there is a high probability that our day time volunteer base will cease to exist. Volunteers will only volunteer if they have something to do. An ambulance run two or three times a week will not provide enough call volume to keep these volunteers active. What happens when we have to stop responding altogether during weekdays.

SPRFLD: Crozer-Keystone Health System will not be covering out of township calls and blue route calls, so you will have all those calls to add to your volume.

SAC: There really aren't that many of those calls to augment the second call volume to matter. If we stop responding to weekday calls, and you have stopped mutual aid during the weekdays, we assume other townships will stop their mutual aid with us, then who will respond to the secondary calls?

SPRFLD:That will be worked out when we get there.

SAC: Have you thought about using Crozer-Keystone Health System as a second ambulance instead of SAC?

SPRFLD: Yes, but we're not.

SPRFLD: Volunteers do not equal a guarantee. You can't count on volunteers.

SAC: We have and we do and they have covered the ambulance 24/7 completely for the last year. How much more of a guarantee is needed?

SAC: If we could guarantee coverage of both ambulances during the 7a-7p shift would that be acceptable?

SPRFLD: No, then we still wouldn't have control.

SAC: What more control do you have over Crozer-Keystone Health System than you do over SAC?

SPRFLD: We have a contract.

SAC: So, if we had a contract with you, would that be satisfactory?

SPRFLD: No, this is how we are doing it.

SAC: Can we see the contract.

SPRFLD: It is not signed. You can't see it if it is not signed.

SAC: How does a resident comment on this before mistakes are made if they can't see it before it is signed?

SPRFLD: That's the way it is.

SAC: Can we meet with all of the commissioners before it is signed?

SPRFLD: That's not necessary, we will advise them on all the things you mentioned at this meeting.

Monday, November 18, 2013
Springfield Ambulance Corps leadership is called to another meeting with Lee Fulton and Robert Woolson, this time the following evening, Tuesday, November 19th.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Springfield Ambulance Corps leadership is called to a meeting with Lee Fulton, Springfield Township Manager, and Robert "Bunk" Woolson, Director of Emergency Services, to address questions and rumors. Some paraphrased content from that meeting:

SAC: What events led to this point?

Woolson: There is concern that SAC is a separate entity that does not answer to the Township. He stated that the Township has the responsibility to provide ambulance service to the community. This is clear, and has been clear, to us and was never disputed by SAC. He repeatedly stated that the Township is concerned that SAC will “lock its doors tomorrow and the Township will have to scramble to figure out what to do.” SAC responded that we have been providing this service to the Township for 65 years and it is very unlikely that the doors will be locked tomorrow and we will walk away from it.

Fulton: SAC is the “current vendor of choice” and has no ties to the Township.

SAC replied with the following:

  • SAC has provided AEDs for every police car. SAC has provided AEDs for nearly every church in Springfield and has donated AEDs to the school district.
  • SAC has installed and maintains opti-coms at many intersections and has plans to continue to install opti-coms on the remaining intersections.
  • SAC provides a scholarship to high school students pursuing a healthcare career.
  • SAC offers free first aid and CPR classes to residents at no cost.
  • SAC is clearly involved and tied to the Township.
  • SAC does not rely on Township money, which should thrill the Township, since they do not have to finance an ambulance service.

Fulton asked about two specific incidents in which a non-SAC ambulance responded to the emergency.

SAC: During one of the incidents, the second ambulance was physically out of state being repaired, and it was unclear why it was dispatched. Springfield Ambulance has no record of a dispatch to the other location specified in the last 3.5 years.

Fulton questioned the response times for Springfield Ambulance.

SAC: During 2012 and 2013, the average response time from dispatch to door (arrival at the caller's address) was 6.5 minutes, well under the national standard. Fulton agreed that this is admirable.

Fulton asked how “scratch” was defined by SAC.

SAC: SAC responded that a scratch occurred when an ambulance was dispatched and did not respond. Fulton indicated that he considered a scratch to be every call in which a non-SAC ambulance responded, even if SAC’s second ambulance was out of service. SAC disagreed. Fulton stated that the only reason the second ambulance has been placed out of service lately was because SAC knew the Township was looking at SAC’s responses. SAC disagreed stating that it was not to the patient’s advantage to have the second ambulance dispatched if there was no crew available; it saves 6 minutes until the next due ambulance is dispatched. SAC stated that there has been 1 primary ambulance scratch this year. It occurred because of a scheduling miscommunication, which can happen in any service – paid or volunteer. In addition, before SAC began to routinely place the second ambulance out of service when there was no assigned crew to that ambulance, there were 29 second emergency scratches. SAC recognized that this was a problem and corrected it.

Woolson asked if the arrangement could be “tweaked a little,” to stop the Facebook posts. The Facebook posts seemed to contain misleading information.

SAC: the Facebook posts were made by members on their personal pages and contained only the information that was shared at the meeting (weekdays/12 hours per day). Woolson indicated that there is a second post being shared that contains different information. This is not true.

SAC: Is the Township/Crozer-Keystone Health System contract signed?

Fulton: No. The contract has not been signed.

SAC: Can the Corps review a copy of the contract prior to it being signed?

Fulton: I will need to check into this. I am not sure if a draft contract is public information. It certainly becomes public information after the contract is signed.

SAC: Why was none of this information shared with SAC prior to the Township approving the measure?

Fulton: SAC does not answer to the Township; why would the information be shared with SAC? SAC is invited to public safety meetings each month and until recently, chose not to attend.

SAC: Was the proposed contract discussed at the public safety meetings?

Fulton: No. SAC stated that at least one member was told that the measure was on the agenda and SAC should have been aware. SAC indicated that the meeting agendas have not been published online since July.

SAC: The Commissioners have been asked on numerous occasions if they had concerns or issues with the SAC operations. We have always been told, emphatically, no. If there were concerns, why weren’t they shared?

Unknown. Fulton asked what environment SAC asked these questions – in a meeting, in public, in passing. SAC replied all of the above were correct.

SAC: The press release states that there will be no impact on existing billing procedures or costs for ambulance transport. SAC runs an annual subscription drive. The insurance co-pays for ambulance transports are waived for subscribing members. Subscribing members are entitled to 2 transports per year without a co-pay charge. Will Crozer-Keystone Health System honor SAC’s subscription drive? Will Crozer-Keystone Health System charge co-pays?

This will be worked out in the contract.
Fulton further stated that he will tell residents who get a bill the same thing he tells residents who get bills now: “Throw it out.”

SAC: Was the option of using a CHKS ambulance as the second due ambulance discussed?

It was considered, but Crozer-Keystone Health System said that it was financially unacceptable.

SAC: When did the Township begin discussions with Crozer-Keystone Health System?

Woolson and Fulton both indicated discussions began 3-4 weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Springfield Ambulance Corps leadership is called to the Springfield Township building for a "brief meeting regarding response times." At this meeting, Lee Fulton, Springfield Township Manager handed a Springfield Ambulance chief a copy of a press release detailing this change.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Springfield Township Board of Commissioners unanimously approves a measure for a Crozer-Keystone Health System ALS ambulance to provide primary emergency ambulance response in Springfield Township, from 7am to 7pm, effective January 1st, 2014. This ALS ambulance would be stationed at the Springfield Fire Company.