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Borough getting advanced medics

March 17, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Increasing runs to the Greencastle-Antrim area are prompting Medic II, the advanced life-support unit based at Waynesboro Hospital, to staff a paramedic and emergency vehicle at the Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 firehouse, Medic II's operations chief said Thursday.

Brian Mitchell said 30 percent of Medic II's calls go to the Greencastle area, 10 miles east of Waynesboro, and beyond. The unit's four emergency vehicles, staffed with 22 full- and part-time paramedics and registered nurses, respond to about 1,800 emergencies a year, all in southern Franklin County.

"This is about cutting response time to that part of the county," Mitchell said. "We've been watching the statistics and we've been recognizing for years that the area around Greencastle is growing."

Medic II's board of directors contracts with Summit Health, owner of Waynesboro Hospital, to provide the personnel to operate the emergency response unit.

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"We're all hospital employees. We work in the emergency room when we're not out on (Medic II) calls," Mitchell said.

The unit provides advanced life support services in medical emergencies, fires and motor vehicle accidents. Medic I, a similar unit in Chambersburg, Pa., covers that borough and northern Franklin County. Both units were established in the early 1980s.

Ambulance squads attached to fire departments around the county are staffed by emergency medical technicians who provide basic life support and transport patients. Advanced life support vehicles carry no patients.

Medic II operates on a $300,000 annual budget derived from fees charged for services, subscriptions, donations and the United Way. An average emergency response costs about $650, Mitchell said.

Insurance companies are billed and any difference between the cost and what the insurance company pays is waived for subscribers. Nonsubscribers pay the difference. Subscriptions cost families $25 a year.

Medic II stations a vehicle and paramedic at Whitetail Resort during the ski season under a contract with the resort, Mitchell said.

Service to Greencastle is expected to start by June, Mitchell said.

Cathy Kimmel, president of the 19-member Medic II board of directors, said it will cost about $125,000 for a new vehicle and added personnel.

Mitchell said he is surveying schools, businesses, industries and senior centers in the Greencastle area to see if the paramedics who will be stationed there can provide basic, free medical services such as blood pressure testing and safety inspections so they can stay busy between emergency calls.

The station will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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