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New ambulance service in town

January 19, 2001

New ambulance service in town



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The for-profit arm of the Washington County Health System will be part owner of a new ambulance company to be launched in March, according to a statement from one of the partners in the company.

Mid-Maryland Medical Transport will provide non-emergency transports, which are also called inter-facility transports, primarily serving patients in Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland.

The company will not respond to 911 calls, said Michael Zampelli, chief operating officer at Antietam Health Services, which is the for-profit subsidiary of Washington County Health System that is a partner in the new company. Washington County Hospital is also part of the health system.

Robert Harsh, owner of County Medical Transport, said his company does about 20 transports a day from Washington County Hospital. Harsh said he fears Mid-Maryland Transport will hurt his business by taking away potential customers.

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But Zampelli said Mid-Maryland Medical Transports won't take business away from any ambulance company.

Zampelli said the new ambulance transport company is being started out of concern that demand for inter-facility transports will soon be too much for existing transport companies to handle.

"We have, over the last two years, seen an increase in utilization of the hospital and an increase in need for services outside the area," Zampelli said. He said he did not have any figures to show that.

About Harsh, Zampelli said, "We have every intention of needing him."

He added that Harsh should see "no change" to the number of transports he'll do from the hospital.

Since September, Halfway and Clear Spring ambulance companies have also been doing transports from Washington County Hospital.

Zampelli said those companies also should not be affected.

John Greenlee, chief of the Clear Spring company, agreed with Zampelli.

Also, Greenlee took issue with calling the transports non-emergency transports.

"They're going down the road for emergency surgery," Greenlee said.

Zampelli said a typical transport situation could involve taking a patient from Washington County Hospital to a Baltimore area hospital for heart bypass surgery, which is not done at the Washington County Hospital.

Antietam Health Services is a partner in the new ambulance company along with subsidiaries of Frederick Memorial Healthcare System and Valley Health System in Winchester, Va., according to a statement from Valley Health System.

Zampelli refused to say how much Antietam Health Services has invested in the new company.

He said the company will begin with five ambulances.

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