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Lower Windsor Twp. delays decision on switching ambulance providers

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Lower Windsor Township held off on switching ambulance service providers Thursday despite Canadochly Valley Ambulance Club allegedly failing to provide adequate service.

Township supervisor Barry Miller vaguely referred to a recent incident with the ambulance service during a meeting Thursday.

"I won’t elaborate on it," he said, "but it put us in a very uncomfortable position, I’ll say it that way."

Miller didn't provide any more details except that the alleged incident occurred about two weeks prior. Throughout the meeting, however, Miller kept stressing that the township needed a guarantee that Canadochly, based in East Prospect, could provide continuous 24-hour service to township residents without any gaps.

Some local officials have since declined to provide further details about the incident, while others did not return phone calls seeking comment. 

On Tuesday, before hearing from a Canadochly representative, Miller and the other two supervisors — Donald Schock and George Yakubowski — were in agreement that they should leave Canadochly and pursue a contract with Susquehanna Valley EMS.

The Susquehanna contract would cost the township $13,500 for the first year, plus a $22,500 one-time initiation fee, Miller said. Residents' memberships would later make up for the $22,500 fee, officials said.

But Susquehanna wouldn't have been available to take over services for at least 60 days, Miller said, and Canadochly would have needed to continue providing emergency services in the interim.

More:White Rose Ambulance to join UPMC Pinnacle

Lower Windsor Township building, Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Supervisors agreed to table their decision after hearing from Bryce Naumann at Canadochly, who said the ambulance club is in the middle of negotiating a merger with Community LifeTeam, an emergency medical service of UPMC Pinnacle.

White Rose Ambulance in York City also merged with Community LifeTeam in 2018.

"We’re asking for more time from you guys to allow us to continue to negotiate with them," Naumann said.

Canadochly has a memorandum of understanding with Community LifeTeam to provide services to the township, said township manager Sande Cunningham, but the township doesn't have a contract with either provider.

Instead, the township gives an annual donation to Canadochly, which then runs its own member drive, she said.

The board decided to give Canadochly and Community LifeTeam more time to negotiate and come up with a contract proposal for Lower Windsor Township, but with one condition.

"We need to be guaranteed that 24/7 coverage from right now, right now on," Miller said. "We cannot, like I said, get ourselves in that same predicament that we were in a couple weeks ago."

Naumann said Community LifeTeam had agreed to provide coverage to the township in the interim.

Cunningham said Tuesday she didn't have any details about the incident Miller was referring to and couldn't confirm what happened, and Miller did not return messages seeking comment.

Neither Canadochly Valley Ambulance Club nor Community LifeTeam could be reached for further comment.

More:Three York County EMS providers merge with help from community foundation grant