First Posted: 9/5/2013
Jenkins Township Ambulance Association will soon disband, but it’s not all bad news for residents.
Greater Pittston Ambulance & Rescue will soon be the primary responder in Jenkins Township and Yatesville as the Jenkins service is folded into Greater Pittston.
The result, officials say, will be a better-equipped, cost efficient, fully manned ambulance crew.
Major groups in Jenkins’ coverage area include Pittston Area High School, Wesley Village and CenterPointe East. That will all soon be covered by Greater Pittston.
Mike Lombardo, the vice president of the Greater Pittston Ambulance & Rescue, said it’s a logical move, considering sources are drying and volunteerism is down.
“We’ve been mutual aid partners for over 20 years and we’ve been working as one team for the past month,” Lombardo said.
Rick Shane, president of the Jenkins Association, said the service currently has two paid drivers weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., but that shift will be eliminated on Oct. 1 as Pittston starts to provide full coverage.
The Jenkins Ambulance is headquartered at the Jenkins Township Hose Company, a stone’s throw from the Pittston border.
Lombardo said the new organization will become the Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance Association to reflect the regional coverage of the service.
The Pittston Company has about 30 members and the 10 members of the Jenkins crew will be welcomed into the fold.
“It will be more efficient,” Lombardo said. “We have a duty crew around the clock.”
“Times are tighter and reimbursements are down,” Lombardo said. “Rather than duplicating efforts, we’re streamlining operations at a single location. It’s best for both communities.”
Pittston has four vehicles: 3 transport ambulances and an SUF for the paramedic program. The Jenkins service has two vehicles in its fleet: a van and a box ambulance. Pittston provides both basic life support and advanced life support services, while Jenkins is only a BLS service.
The Pittston service has a nearly $400,000 yearly budget. Funding comes from subscriptions, insurance reimbursements and periodic contributions from the city. The Pittston crew also has a joint duty crew with West Pittston.
Before the merger becomes official, it must be approved by several state agencies, including the state Department of Health.
“We’ve been working together for the past month. So the staff is familiar with each other,” Lombardo said.
Any memberships paid to Jenkins will be honored by Pittston, Lombardo said.
The Duryea Ambulance and Rescue Association, which served Duryea and surrounding communities for over 50 years, disbanded on May 18, leaving the Avoca Ambulance Association as the only primary crew for the Duryea, Dupont and Avoca.
That association was running short on funds. Officials have said it costs around $110,000 a year to keep that ambulance crew on the road, they were only seeing about $30,000 from their fund raising drives. Additionally, Medicare and private insurers were cutting back on payments.