Topsham mulls EMS pact with Bowdoinham

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen is scheduled Thursday, Jan. 4, to discuss whether to negotiate an emergency medical services contract with Bowdoinham.

If an agreement is approved, Topsham would begin providing primary EMS coverage for its northern neighbor no later than July 1, Town Manager Rich Roedner said in a Dec. 27, 2017, memo to selectmen.

The contract could provide Topsham a new revenue stream, he noted.

Insurance reimbursement payments, which depend on the number and types of calls, could total about $75,000, Roedner said Dec. 29. An additional base fee paid by Bowdoinham would have to be negotiated.

Bowdoinham last year had about 225 EMS calls, and Topsham’s mutual aid calls in Bowdoinham have only amounted to about two a month, Roedner said. 

With Topsham serving as primary responder, other towns would lend mutual aid. “We would have to work with our mutual aid towns to see if they would be willing to cover this responsibility as well,” Roedner noted.

The manager pointed out there are several issues to consider: Topsham is searching for a new fire/EMS chief, so a pact could be delayed until a new chief is hired; providing primary coverage could overburden Topsham’s department and equipment, and maintaining the town’s own level of coverage could become more difficult.

Topsham’s EMS load in 2017 was about 1,240 calls, including mutual aid.

Bowdoinham’s EMS page notes that only eight people are currently responding to such calls, daytime responders “are in desperate need,” and the town could also use nighttime members. Those interested in helping can call 666-5531.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.