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Four-town cooperative selects CarePlus as ambulance provider

December 09, 2010
MADISON — In a unique move, four towns have selected CarePlus/North Conway Ambulance to provide emergency medical services to their communities for the next five years, beginning Jan. 1, 2011.

While it is not unique that the towns of Eaton, Freedom, Madison, and Tamworth all chose the same company, it is uncommon for town selectmen to work collectively with other selectmen in a group purchasing or contracting plan.

"The idea was actually initiated by Les Babb and it gives us better bargaining power with a bigger base of business," said Madison Selectman Michael Benoit following the group's announced decision last Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The 12 selectmen worked together on drafting the 20-page request for proposals that was advertised with all proposals due by Oct. 27. The contract has a main section of general terms that apply to all four towns then a separate section with terms specific to each town.

The general terms include standard ambulance contract items such as ambulance and equipment maintenance, certification of employees, insurance requirements and compliance with state and national emergency medical service laws.

CarePlus will be leasing the former SAU 13 building on Route 41 for employee living quarters and ambulance storage, according to operations manager Will Riley.

The contract terms unique to each town include maximum allowable response times to medical emergencies. When the dispatch center sounds the emergency tone for a medical call in Eaton, an ambulance must be on scene within 20 minutes 80 percent of the time and within 30 minutes 100 percent of the time; in Freedom within 12 minutes 65 percent of the time and within 25 minutes 100 percent of the time; in Madison and Tamworth within 10 minutes 85 percent of the time and within 20 minutes 100 percent of the time.

Eaton selectmen also stipulated that cell phones and GPS units "should not be relied upon for communication and/or navigation within the Town of Eaton. Contractor and Contractor's employees need to be familiar with town roads and access changes between the summer and winter months."

In all four towns, CarePlus is also required to standby as requested at fire scenes or other non-medical calls of the police or fire department.

Ossipee and Effingham selectmen were invited to participate in the cooperative but declined. Ossipee selectmen recently awarded a three-year contract to Lifestar Ambulance and Effingham selectmen are in the process of putting the contract out to bid in that town.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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