The emergency call comes in for your small Maine town ambulance service.
To high tail it. Make the sick patient pick up, the delivery to a health care facility stat. Three ambulances, with three year rotation updates to keep the fleet in the pink, healthy. Can not afford a breakdown. To be dead in the water. Parked the other side of the Interstate rumble strip right? When the precious cargo’s life seconds are numbering.
Sometimes a new small Maine town ambulance that costs $160,000 give or take a few dollars is purchased.
On other occasions a demo gets the nod off the bench. Put into service. Or the retired, aging rig is put out to pasture. Replaced by unfastening the high tech mini hospital back square box. Slide out the high mileage diesel chassis. Back up, under and bolt on the new frame, plug in the cube’s wires. With there, whew, a fresh power plant, transmission on a new air ride. To be the new life support on wheels crash cart vehicle.
To carry the life and death sick and injured at higher speeds down the Maine highway. Sirens blaring, lights alternating, flashing brightly. To announce to traffic, neighborhoods all along the route. What’s up ahead to move it on over to make way. To avoid causing an accident involving the ambulance. Which would not be good at all.
Could be a loved one of your own in the back of the Maine ambulance.
Isn’t that the first thought you have?I do. Wondering oh oh. Who is in trouble, hurting, maybe dying? Where I live in Houlton Maine, it is a cut off location for the Life Flight. I hear the whomp whomp thud of compressed air. Felt, getting louder. As the bird circles. Sets down two blocks away at the helipad just outside the Emergency Room entrance.
The ambulance crew for a tenth the cost can be saddled up, on the road though. To boogie with the patient to a larger health care facility with specialty services to the south. But depending on the distance, you are in transit less time beyond Bangor by the time the order goes in, the bird arrives. Disappears over the horizon with blinking navigational lights.
When a town around Houlton Maine signs on for ambulance services the cost is based on a per capita fee to keep it fair.
Monticello Maine to the north has used Crown Ambulance in the past which parked a rig in the Westfield / Mars Hill Maine area. To have it on call for faster turn around service.
The cost for Crown has been $9100 annually according to Monticello town officials. Cheaper than Houlton. Plus the ambulance crew cab ride cost gets billed to the insurance company or Uncle Sam. Paid for the loaded one way delivery. To pick up, answer a call in Monticello, Maine. That has a population a whisker away from 800 people last head count.
And after loading the stretcher into the rear, the back barn bay doors get shut to let the patient, the family flip a coin to decide. Should I go to Houlton Regional Hospital to the south or The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle to the north? From an economic standpoint for my home town, for this money making arm of the County Seat for Aroostook, I would like to see more stays, bookings at Houlton Regional. Like all of the runs.
Not greedy but quality health care happens at HRH too.
Where the job count flickers, vacillates between 1st and 2nd largest area employer. Jobs are a bigger deal in a small Maine town where they don’t grow on trees. Are chased, hunted down, hung on to dearly.
Another translation | Affects my, everyone in the town’s property tax bill size. Even Emergency Medical Service Director Milton Cone has to dig deeper, who lives in this burg. Where he, his wife, the family of three girls they raised lives are pretty heavily invested. Six other EMT/EMS paramedics jobs happen too because of the three ambulances with their snouts pointing toward the door. To sail out of the fire department’s station automatic doors when the call comes in to turn on the light and sound toggles, roll.
Cone, who rotates lids, wears a couple town government hats. Also leads the Houlton Fire Department, is our local Smokey Bear. Makes sure everything is spiffy, clipped, mowed, trimmed. Proper and respectful at our local cemeteries. Like me, thinks getting Monticello Maine’s business would be a good thing for this blogger’s home town. At a time the lower bidder no longer has the parked ambulance idling, waiting for service when the 911 call comes in. There are behind the scenes changes, adjustments underway at Crown Ambulance. TAMC exploring options. The city of Presque Isle toying with buying some ambulances, housing them in their fire department like Houlton does.
A healthy 1600 runs for the sick last year for the Houlton Ambulance that makes money and that you would like to see the revenue continue, to grow.
That’s exciting economics. Way more than the small Maine town over spending the other way. Hefty hikes yearly in the property tax bill. That hurts business, the individual tax payer. For savings needed to pay the other bills. Luxuries like heating, groceries, mortgage, rent, kid’s braces and prom dresses. Land line, cell phones, cable or dish. All types of insurances, home upkeep, cars with their maintenance nickel and dime and college accounts. To name just a few.
The branching off to new areas when town officials awhile back in the Danforth, Wytopitlock (AKA Reed Plantation), Bancroft area asked if Houlton could service their small towns, can mean have to hold it. The level of service can suffer when you get to far away from your primary target area. If a ambulance department gets over extended.
Sending rigs, crews out during snow storms, poor road conditions into the middle of nowhere.
Not enough runs to have a local pinch hitter crew based closer or volunteers in towns that are just getting so so small. Too tiny to make the expenditure pay. That like their school enrollment, job options too are shrinking, hemorrhaging. In the dwindling not so perky local economy happening all over Maine. As municipal DT addiction to disappearing, trickled back revenue sharing rehab continues.
The call to the helicopter can get scrubbed too. When the whirly bird wind beater can not fly. Is grounded like Santa almost had happen one bad storm condition year. Before the freak reindeer strapped in, took off in red light, saved the day.
Sometimes the Houlton ambulance trip to Bangor, 119 miles away means the no vacancy neon light suddenly flicks on.
No beds are available and keep driving boys and girls. Heading further south. Experienced this when number three of four children, the oldest son was antsy to arrive into the world way way too early. The neo natal unit in Bangor Maine’s California king was booked. Suddenly in use and it was how about Lewiston Maine to hook up the machinery? To calm the tremors, to keep the pregnancy easy does it. Underway and Alex inside Mom until the coast was clear for the delivery hide and seek of the bundle of joy ended naturally.