The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 25, 2013

Gallitzin discontinues its ambulance service

GALLITZIN — As of 8 a.m. Monday, Gallitzin Area Ambulance Services discontinued its services to the surrounding municipalities, folding under steadily decreasing insurance and Medicare reimbursements.

A workshop was held Monday evening at the Gallitzin Borough office along Convent Street, where representatives from the Cresson-based Cambria Alliance EMS, which has assumed the area’s ambulance services, Gallitzin Township and Tunnelhill Borough, along with Southern Alleghenies EMS Council Director Carl Moen, met to discuss “facts” surrounding the hand-off.

“It appears we’re going to have good coverage and the same level of services,” Moen said, citing response data gathered for Cambria Alliance EMS, formerly Cresson Ambulance Service.

The average response time for Gallitzin Borough calls was 10 minutes under the former outfit, 20 minutes for rural areas. Cambria Alliance maintains 24/7 coverage through stations located in Cresson, Lilly and Ashville. Managing paramedic James Effinger said since calls are received through Cambria County 911, there will be no preference for response.

Since the closure of SCI-Cresson, which Effinger said was responsible for an average 75 calls per year, manpower is right where it should be for the added service area.

Responders from Gallitzin Area Ambulance have also applied with Cambria Alliance EMS.

“That’s a valuable resource. We want to build on that,” Effinger said. “If we need extra crew, I can get it because our people live nearby.”

It’s still unclear whether Cambria Alliance EMS will be able to take advantage of the old Gallitzin Area garage or license its units – the borough does not own the garage or any equipment.

Membership rates, which will waive ambulance deductibles, will be $30 for individuals, $40 for families and $50 for households, which means anyone currently at the residence. Citing EMS membership law, alliance board members said although Gallitzin Area offered senior citizen discounts, that will not continue.

No other surcharges will be attached to Cambria Alliance EMS services.

“Regardless of pay, we’re still coming to your house,” Effinger said. “If you don’t have that membership, not only do you get the bill, you’re responsible for the whole thing.”

Effinger said memberships comprise about 99 percent of funding.

At the meeting, representatives from fundraising entities, including Friends of Gallitzin Area Ambulance, were urged by the Cambria Alliance board to continue their efforts, and work on expanding into areas like Cresson and Lilly.

With the addition of Gallitzin and Tunnelhill boroughs – nearly 1,000 households, according to Gallitzin Borough Council President Roger Renninger – Cambria Alliance EMS now services 15 municipalities in the area, more than any other ambulance service in the county. Effinger said the Cambria Alliance budget is now pushing $1 million.

“What we’re looking at is regionalization of the EMS services because of more in the pot,” Effinger said. “More finances can not only keep the system going but can expand it.”

Renninger said he felt the meeting went well.

“Everybody knows right now that change is inevitable,” he said. “Regionalization is truly, at this point, the only way these smaller communities are going to be able to survive.”

Justin Dennis is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/JustinDennis.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads