Atlantic Ambulance Corp. has confirmed their intentions to expand services of their New Jersey-based company with a station near Lake Wallenpaupack in Pike County.
Robert Seman, spokesman for Atlantic Ambulance Corp., said they have begun the process of establishing a third station in Palmyra Township.
"The purpose of this third station is to enhance the services we currently offer the Pike County community and allow for potential growth. We are currently in the process of obtaining inspection of the site by the state and we hope to occupy the new location in the coming weeks," said Seman.
--- Proposed site
At the August 20th meeting of the Palmyra Township (Pike) Board of Supervisors, Township Solicitor Anthony Waldron spoke about what may be allowed at the "George P. Irish" commercial building on Route 6, which is diagonal to the Lake Wallenpapuack Visitors Center. Township Administrator Jo-Ann Rose later indicated that Atlantic Ambulance had inquired about being able to locate there as a tenant and whether a conditional use hearing would be required.
Depending on the number of vehicles that would be dispatched from there has bearing on whether a hearing may be needed. She said just after the August 20th meeting that a hearing wouldn't be needed but they still had to have the application on file.
"Atlantic Ambulance Corp. is proud to serve as a provider of ambulance and advanced life support services to several communities within Pike County," Seman stated. "In addition to the two previously established stations – one in Milford, another in nearby Lord’s Valley – Atlantic Ambulance has begun the process of establishing a third station in Palmyra Township."
"Like the other two stations, this location will be equipped with an ambulance unit capable of providing both Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS), and will be staffed by one paramedic and one EMT." Seman said.
He added, "Atlantic Ambulance works cohesively with our other emergency partners in Pike County."
The region is already served by a BLS service, Tafton Ambulance Corps, and Pike County Advanced Life Support Inc., which provides paramedic service. Hawley Ambulance & Rescue Company is also nearby available for mutual aid.
--- Pike ALS concerned
The news wasn't welcomed at Pike ALS.
"It's discouraging," Pike ALS Director Kyle Wright said. "Everywhere we have a station they put one within a mile."
Pike ALS recently closed their Milford station because Atlantic had set up less than a mile from them, and were losing calls. Pike ALS had a staging area for their units at Lords Valley, to be half-way between Palmyra and Milford. Atlantic then established themselves nearby, so Pike ALS closed the staging area, Wright said.
Page 2 of 2 - Their Palmyra Township station is in the Clemleddy building, less than a mile up Route 6 from the proposed location for Atlantic.
Pike ALS also has a station in Lackawaxen Township.
Emergency calls are dispatched in Pike County based first on the company the municipality has designated as their first response provider. If the municipality has not made a designation, then the call goes to the station nearest to the emergency, Wright said.
Palmyra Township (Pike) has not yet decided on which ALS company to designate. They have designated Tafton Ambulance as their BLS service. Wright said that Pike ALS is the designated paramedic service for Lackawaxen and Greene townships, and Hawley Borough.
In Wayne County, ambulances and ALS vehicles utilize a satellite locating system and are dispatched according to the nearest unit to the emergency rather than the station location, unless the municipality has a company designated as the first provider. Wright said that Pike ALS responds frequently to Palmyra Township- Wayne because they are the closest paramedic unit. He said that the satellite system is much preferable to relying on station location and should be utilized in Pike County.
Wright has said that they have continued to provide services and struggle financially to survive, but referring to Atlantic, it is "hard to compete with a Fortune 500 company." Meeting state licensing standards, the service provided by Pike ALS and Atlantic has to be compatible, Wright noted. Pike ALS, however, charges less than Atlantic, he stated.
Asked about how they charge at Atlantic, Seman stated, "Atlantic Ambulance charges patients at a uniform rate, in line with other providers in the industry, and is covered by many insurance providers. Coverage varies by individual policy, therefore the ultimate cost to patients can vary. Atlantic Ambulance services are covered by Medicare. We also work individually on payment plans with patients who have financial difficulties."
Atlantic Ambulance Corporation is a non-profit organization, based in Morristown, NJ. They are affiliated with three hospitals in New Jersey, Newton Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center and Morristown Medical Center. Milford Health & Wellness Center in Milford, PA is associated with Newton Medical Center, providing urgent care services in that area.