Paramedic Services


I discussed the possibility of upgrading the town’s EMT services to a paramedic service with my colleagues last night, and neither Ann, Mark, nor Mike had any interest in looking at doing so.  Paramedics have the additional ability to administer medications and to stabilize a patient before transport in the ambulance.  Currently, if paramedics services are needed, a call goes out to paramedics who then intercept the Medfield ambulance, and the patient is transferred to the paramedics’ ambulance.

Having a paramedic service would cost the town more money, and if the proposal were to have been investigated it would ultimately have been up to residents at the Annual Town Meeting to decide whether they wanted to spend those extra monies for the higher level of ambulance services.

5 responses to “Paramedic Services

  1. A clarification on your statement – when Medfield’s ambulance intercepts with a paramedic service (from private companies AMR or Events EMS, or from a neighboring town that has paramedic staffing such as Westwood, Walpole or Norfolk), the paramedics from those services generally board Medfield’s ambulance (the patient is not moved to a different ambulance during transport). There would certainly be increased costs associated with the transition to the paramedic level of service, but the ongoing costs would be to some extent offset by increased revenues (Advanced Life
    Support calls are billed at a higher rate). The Fire Chief has been commenting in his annual reports for the past few years that increased staffing is inevitable and the upgrade of service to the paramedic level would provide a higher level of care to Medfield’s residents.

    I’m sure most residents don’t realize that Medfield only has 2 full time firefighter/EMT’s on duty at a time (and when the town’s 1 ambulance is out, there may not be any staff in the station). When additional personnel are required (for a fire or for a rescue call such as a motor vehicle crash), on-call personnel and off duty full time members have to respond to the station to staff the fire apparatus.

    While there can certainly be debate on whether call volumes justify the additional level of service, or whether the number of true ALS calls support paramedics or maintain skill levels, at some point in the coming years the town will need to hire more full time firefighters and it would probably make sense to upgrade to the paramedic level at the same time. In the past decade area towns such as Ashland, Hopkinton, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Canton, Sharon, Walpole, Westwood, Natick, Bellingham, Franklin, Foxborough, Wrentham and others have upgraded from the BLS (Basic Life Support / EMT) level of ambulance service to ALS (Advanced Life Support / Paramedic) level of service. I imagine Medfield’s residents would desire the same increased level of care if given the choice, so there should perhaps at least be a discussion or analysis of the costs.

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    • John,
      You clearly are better informed on the issue than I, and so I thank you for the correction. Kristine Trierweiler offered to run the numbers of what it would cost Medfield to move to a paramedic service, but given the lack of interest/opposition at the Board of Selectmen I told her not to spend time on something that was clearly not going to be productive.
      Pete

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  2. The fact is if you need Paramedic intervention and you live in Medfield you’re going to have to wait. Heart attack! The drugs you need will have to wait. Can’t breathe, same thing. Etc, etc, etc. In a “well to do town” like Medfield it’s a disgrace that its high tax paying residents don’t have the best out of hospital medical care available to them. John K listed all the towns around us that have gone to the Paramedic level leaving Medfield in the dust. These towns made the decision to invest in this level of care for its residents and isn’t it sad that if Medfield needs Paramedic care it has to call these towns. Most importantly that means a delay to the patient and it also means that Medfield is robbing that town and its residents of their Paramedic service which they pay for. So if you lived in one of these surrounding towns and needed an ambulance you may not get your Paramedics because they’re bailing out Medfield, again. That’s just not right! I think if the numbers were looked at you’ll find that the Paramedic level may not cost as much as you think and in fact it may be profitable. But never mind the money, it’s what the residents and taxpayers of Medfield deserve. I urge Mr. Peterson to pursue this despite the reactions of our town leaders and I urge the residents of Medfield to contact the Selectmen, Mr. Sullivan and Mrs. Trierweiler and urge them to give you what you deserve, Paramedic Level medical care. You may need it someday. I am a resident and full time Firefighter/EMT in Medfield.

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    • John,
      Thanks for your input. You clearly have way more knowledge than I do as well (I am getting tired of saying that today). My original focus on the issue was caused by a conversation with a Medfield resident who is a firefighter in another town, and his suggestion as a Medfield resident that he thought it would serve the town really well to move to paramedic services, and that he also thought that most residents would be willing to pay for any cost differential. From my very small sample to date (about ten), the only residents to express negatives to me about the idea so far are my colleagues in the town government.

      I am glad to hear that one Medfield Firefighter/EMT favors the transition to paramedic services, as one of my fears was of resistance from the existing employees in the Medfield Fire Department. If there is enough interest, I will ask Kris to run the cost numbers, and I will personally continue to push for the change.
      Pete

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  3. Mr. Peterson, I’m a 39 year resident, my children are the 5th generation to live in Medfield and I fully support the need for paramedics in Medfield. I’m also a professional fire fighter, a on-call firefighter for the town of Medfield, and a paramedic. I have seen first hand and been a part of the benefits that come from advance life support. Although the start up cost may be high the benefits would be worth it. At the present time the state allows a paramedic unit to be run with one paramedic emt and one basic emt. This would mean only a staffing increase of four(one paramedic per shift). Not only does this increase the obvious medical benefits being at a higher level of care but would increase fire response time. A fire engine must have a minimum of three firefighters to operate safely at a fire scene. So when a fire alarm is received the two on duty fire fighter must wait for a on-call member to respond to the station before they can respond.

    There are also different ways of getting paramedic service to Medfield. At one time Millis was interested in looking into a joint paramedic unit with Medfield. The town of Wayland started a paramedic unit that responds to surrounding towns which helps offset cost.

    Thank you for bring this subject up and please stick with it. I feel that paramedic service is a very important issue that the town should be very proactive on before the surrounding communities start having a problem with us taking there paramedic units out of service. If there’s any assistance or advice I can give please feel free to contact me.

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