Collegeville to Name Trappe Ambulance First Responder

The borough is drafting an ordinance to combat for-profit medical service providers attempting to provide emergency care for borough residents.


In response to a request from Trappe EMS Lieutenant Renee Sullivan, Collegeville Borough Council will draft a resolution naming Trappe EMS the Borough's First Responder, in an attempt to curb "steal calls" from for-profit transport companies.

"There is an ongoing problem with transport companies in our districts picking up 911 calls," said Sullivan.  "They listen on the radio, they respond to a call, they approach a patient and can transport them. It's not exactly illegal, but it's not exactly legal."

Transport companies, such as LifeStar, are for-profit companies that often do inner-facility transports - many are contracted by hospitals.

Sullivan said that the the companies are not licensed to provide 911 care, and are primarily staffed from people outside of the Perkiomen Valley community.

"We want to make sure that the people who come on a 911 call are the people who you know and service the community as a whole," Sullivan said.

Trappe Ambulance is the primary EMS provider for the borough, the system is set up to tier down into other non-profit EMS providers in the county, such as Limerick or Skippack.

Sullivan said that, while for-profit companies are often covered by insurance, there is an important financial difference between for-profit and non-profit companies.

"[Trappe Ambulance, as a non-profit] is contractually bound to settle for a certain capped cost, regardless of services provided," Sullivan said. "A for-profit doesn't have the same constraints; it can go after residents for the money."

Members of council who spoke on the subject were in favor of protecting Trappe Ambulance, and debated drafting legislation to fine companies that attempt to provide 911 service for residents in the community.

Council decided that, in the end, it is the choice of the resident to chose emergency services of two were to show up on the scene.

"We will have a resolution at our next meeting," said Collegeville Borough Council Vice Chair Arnold Mann.

Police Chief Bart Bucher said that Collegeville Police respond to every ambulance call in the borough, and will make sure residents know that Trappe Ambulance is the borough's responder of choice.

Jason T. Wilsenheimer October 17, 2012 at 07:53 AM
Last time I checked, a licensed ambulance is a licensed ambulance. Does Trappe have specialty "transport only" ambulances for their contract at Pottstown? No? That's right, because Pennsylvania State Law has licensing requirements for ambulances. No differentiation, Ms. Sullivan. Your ignorance of the medical billing system is glaring. Yes Trappe Ambulance CAN go after residents for unpaid bills. The transport services actually are captivated and contracted by insurance companies (ie: Aetna and the Blues) to accept their payment and only bill for deductible, co insurance or co payment. The caveat would be whether Trappe contracted with these companies in their low budget Pottstown deal. Then they would follow the same standards as above. They may choose to NOT bill based on subscription and/or membership status. My advice, Ms. Sullivan, keep doing operations, leave administration, billing and politics to Mr. Pasquale, he's much better suited for these types of things.


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