By Nadine Cafaro
On March 6, the Town of Montgomery Ambulance Corps (TOMAC) announced that they received approval from the Hudson Valley Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee (REMAC) to progress with upgrading their services to soon provide advanced life support (ALS) services.
Currently, under a contract between the Town of Montgomery and TOMAC, ALS services are being provided from Ambulnz, a Newburgh-based private ambulance service. This was decided last year when the town accepted a joint proposal from the two ambulance operations to provide ambulance services and create an ambulance tax district for the town and its three villages. Ambulnz set to provide ALS to residents while TOMAC participated in the application process to provide ALS services.
They officially applied for ALS services in February, which REMAC then approved just over a week ago.
REMAC coordinates emergency medical services in different counties in the Hudson Valley and is led by Chief Medical Officer at Garnet Health, Dr. Pamela Murphy.
“It was standing room only in the REMAC meeting with colleagues of ours from neighboring EMS agencies and elected officials attending the meeting just to show support for our ALS upgrade request. Dr. Murphy, the chair of REMAC, mentioned that she thought it might be the largest attendance ever at a REMAC meeting,” said Town of Montgomery Ambulance Community Trustee/Executive Board member Sylvie Rainaldi.
Part of TOMAC’s application process includes hiring a new Chief Paramedic/Director of Operations. They chose Rich Willey, who has served as a New York State paramedic for over 20 years. They also had to create new policies and provide letters from public officials, like NYS Assemblyman Brian Maher, Town of Montgomery Supervisor Ron Feller and NYS Senator Rob Rolison.
Since then, they’ve been working on making TOMAC thrive and better prepared for the day ALS services begin. They hired their first in-house business manager, Jennifer Watrous, created a more thorough data collection method, and hired a consulting firm to assess TOMAC’s plans and goals, as well as EMS in the Town of Montgomery.
Rainaldi mentioned feeling proud of their organization. “I’m really proud of the achievements of the Town of Montgomery Ambulance these past few years. It’s a really dedicated group of community volunteers that lead this organization. When we received the approval to move forward with upgrading our services to ALS, it was really encouraging to have the larger EMS community validate our hard work,” said Rainaldi.
So, what’s left? Well, TOMAC will work with the NYS Department of Health for final license approval. Rainaldi also mentions additional supplies, equipment and fundraising that needs to happen.
“This, however, is not the final stop. We still have to purchase portable cardiac monitors and order specialized medical supplies. This will come with additional fundraising, since community fundraising is a key to our success. Then we can build a team of in-house paramedics and ultimately receive final New York State Department of Health approval to operate,” said Rainaldi.
The Town of Montgomery Ambulance answers over 2,500 calls per year and serves the villages of Montgomery, Maybrook and Walden, and the Hamlet of Coldenham.