Youngstown ambulance service future discussed in town hall
As the City of Youngstown continues to negotiate with AMR ambulance services to extend their contract agreement, residents continue to gather to discuss the city's best option.
Wednesday evening welcomed in yet another town hall for those affected to speak up about their concerns over this potential safety issue if AMR doesn't renew their contract.
"If we can't come to an agreement with them and AMR leaves, we're in trouble," said Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley to the crowd on Wednesday.
Youngstown Neighborhood Leader's three-part City Safety Series town hall style meetings are used for leaders to gain a better understanding of the situation, discuss if there are other options available, and discuss why current response times are longer than acceptable.
"Why are the delays happening and why doesn't the Youngstown Fire Department they have their own EMS service," asked Michael North with Northeast Homeowners and Concerned Citizens.
"An ambulance can only sustain itself, just like any other entity business, you can only sustain yourself for so long when you're losing money," explained Chief Finley as to why AMR is in need of more funds to continue servicing the City of Youngstown.
Chief Finley spoke heavily on the lack of hospitals in the area, commonly delaying emergency response. He referenced his shift working in the hospital on Sunday as an emergency room nurse and just how crowded it was.
"Our ER is so full of patients we don't know where to put everybody," Finley said. "AMR does not want to leave. They've been here for quite some time they do not want to leave but, they're a business."
The city has yet to reach an agreement with AMR ahead of the contract expiring on December 31.
"I don't feel like AMR sees Youngstown citizens in a light that is like, 'We have to go get to these people, we have to go save them," said Councilman Julius Oliver.
Councilman Oliver said despite his opinions on the service, if AMR is the only company to agree to work with the city, he'd be open to providing the subsidy AMR's been asking for months. His added concern is how much money the service would charge annually to keep up.
"I think the solution is to do what you have to do to make sure we're not suffering. so it doesn't fall on us," North added.
Oliver believes surrounding communities could potentially come together to form one ambulance service.
Other emergency services have been offered a request for proposal but no one else answered to the city except AMR. Chief Finley said he's still unsure what route the city will go in.
A final town hall is set for November 30.