NEWBURYPORT — An Anna Jaques Hospital spokeswoman confirmed yesterday it has reached an agreement with Wilmington-based Action Ambulance to provide ambulance service from the hospital, replacing longtime ambulance provider American Medical Response.
Anna Jaques Hospital spokeswoman Debra Chiaravalloti said the contract with Action Ambulance is for discharges only, meaning that American Medical Response or any other ambulance provider can still drop off patients at the Highland Avenue hospital.
"We are going to be working with them," Chiaravalloti said yesterday, adding she hopes other ambulance services, including AMR, continue to work with the hospital.
Founded in 1977 in Melrose, Action Ambulance has 16 different branches, including one on Graf Road in Newburyport. Action Ambulance has a fleet of 32 trucks, each staffed with two emergency medical technicians. The next two closest Action Ambulance branches are in Ipswich and Georgetown.
"We're obviously extremely excited about it because it's really going to change the way in which we as a transportation provider work in collaboration with the hospital," Action Ambulance chief executive officer Michael Woronka said yesterday.
Woronka said patients will still have the choice to be transported by an ambulance service they so choose.
"But if there is a need for immediate need, then it will be the preferred provider," Woronka said.
Little is known of the terms of the deal, as Chiaravalloti said hospital officials were hesitant to discuss details, adding they were expected to meet with Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday today to go over the change of service.
But Woronka said the contract is for one year starting on Jan. 1, 2012, and negotiations began in August before a verbal agreement was reached around Thanksgiving. The contract is expected to be finalized soon.
Woronka wouldn't discuss how much the contract is worth but said it is partially based on performance measures, including transportation timeliness.
Woronka said its deal with Anna Jaques Hospital will mean the expansion of its Newburyport branch with a total of four to six trucks employing up to 15 people at the site. Action Ambulance is a non-union employer, Woronka added.
Calls to American Medical Response for comment were not returned in time for this edition.