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AUBURN

Auburn council gets update on city-run ambulance's first few weeks of service

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ACC 11-23-21

Kezia Sullivan, director of operations for the new Auburn City Ambulance department, speaks to the Auburn City Council at its meeting Tuesday night.

AUBURN — The Auburn city government gave an update on how its fledgling ambulance service has been doing after less than a month in operation.

Kezia Sullivan, director of operations for the Auburn Ambulance Service, spoke during an Auburn City Council meeting Tuesday.

Sullivan said earlier this month that crews began responding to calls Oct. 30 instead of the originally planned Nov. 1 start date. The city's former longtime private ambulance provider, TLC Emergency Medical Services, was still the main agency until the first day of the month. When TLC wasn't available for calls Oct 30 and 31, personnel with the new service were sent out. The Auburn system officially took over at the start of November.

Sullivan said Tuesday the new service has responded to 442 calls for service as of that evening, with approximately 26 of those being interfacility transfers, such as from one hospital to another. She also noted the city is tracking the number of calls the ambulance system is responding to outside of the city. There have been eight calls she is aware of outside of the 13021 zip code, she said. She praised ambulance staff at the meeting.

"I'm very pleased with all of the employees and how well they've been doing, as we've been in a dynamic situation every day getting things started," Sullivan said. "Every week, I think we're doing better and we definitely want to continue that trajectory."

Councilor Jimmy Giannettino asked if the council will get a more detailed budget presentation. City Manager Jeff Dygert asked that council give the city until about "mid-to-late January to get some of that information together, and then we can give you probably a better and more accurate picture of labor costs."

Sullivan said it takes time to "see that revenue come back in, especially if an insurance company initially rejects a claim, needs additional information.

"It will probably be a couple months before we have a consistent income flow to show. There will be some income immediately, but some of it is going to take a few months to level out," she said. 

The ambulance service is currently sharing space with the Auburn Fire Department, although there is already equipment at AFD's new location at the public safety building, for which a ribbon-cutting was held Oct. 28. After the meeting, fire Chief Mark Fritz said he is hoping the fire department will be fully moved into the new building by the end of next week.

Sullivan said after the meeting she is feeling "optimistic" about how the ambulance service is going.

Fritz said he believes the ambulance system is going well.

"Excellent patient care is being provided to the citizens, the two departments are working in harmony to provide the best service we can," he said.

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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Education and City Reporter

Hello, my name is Kelly Rocheleau, and I cover the education and city beats for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. I've been writing for the paper since December 2016.

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