CARS to Reduce Response in Albemarle - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

CARS to Reduce Response in Albemarle

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The Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS) will stop responding to daytime calls in the county starting next Monday.

The negotiation was actually over how the money would be handled but now CARS and Albemarle Fire and Rescue are prepared to make some changes.

"We just reached an area where we could not agree and we had to move and go our separate ways," said Chief Dan Eggleston of Albemarle County Fire and Rescue.

The change came about since fire and  rescue couldn't come to terms with CARS over ambulance billing. The county is currently charging for its service and wanted CARS to follow suit.

"What the county has proposed, and still has proposed, is that the agencies would do the work and the money would be collected by the county and the county would redistribute that money based on a predetermined percentage formula," said CARS President Mike Berg.

But CARS didn't like that equation, offering up its own.

"If in fact we were to participate in revenue recovery with Albemarle County, that money would come back to the squad and make us whole.  Any leftover money would assist other agencies in the fire rescue system and if there were profits after that would go back to the general fund," said Berg.

Berg sent a letter to the county saying they would no longer provide ambulance coverage in Albemarle from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. during weekdays and will concentrate solely on Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.  

CARS will lose its county-paid  EMTs.  Daytime ambulance services would be placed in the Ivy area, at the Seminole Trail Fire Department and the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Company.  

"There's going to be a benefit to the rural areas too because they're traveling less distance," said Eggleston.

The change will also bring in more revenue for Albemarle. Right now, it will be covered by existing ambulances already owned by the county and shifting staff around. "Emergency services is the fastest cost component of the county's budget and we have to look at ways to cushion that blow," said Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis Rooker.

Eggleston says they're still in talks with Western Albemarle Rescue Squad (WARS), the other squad not charging for service. Eggleston says he's hopeful they'll reach an agreement with that group. The changes go into effect February 4 at 6 a.m.

Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad
Press Release

Charlottesville, VA – January 30, 2013 – As a result of a decision by Albemarle County to change the structure of EMS operations in the county, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS) has been forced to make changes to its transport operations.

Effective February 4, 2013, the county has announced it will move its paid personnel, who have been supplementing volunteers at CARS during weekday shifts, to the Seminole Trail Fire Department in order to cover an ambulance or fire engine at that location. In addition, the county is adding ambulances to Earlysville Volunteer Fire Company and Stony Point Volunteer Fire Company.

"The changes mean that CARS will have its number of transport units reduced from three to two, just as the county increases its number of such units available," said Michael Berg, C-ARS president. "It makes no sense for CARS to continue regular transport service in the county under those conditions, especially when our service area also includes Charlottesville and the University of Virginia."

C-ARS President Michael Berg informed County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston of the squad's decision in a letter dated January 14, 2013, in which Berg reiterated that CARS would continue to provide assistance to the county on a mutual aid basis when necessary if conditions allow.

"We also emphasized in our letter that only transport units are affected by this decision, not squad trucks or other special pieces or teams," said Dayton Haugh,

CARS chief. "We expressed our disappointment that CARS is unable to continue providing weekday daytime transport services in Albemarle County. We want to assure the public that these changes were made only to adjust to the changes made by the county, and that we at C-ARS are committed to continuing to provide the highest quality service to this region."

Founded in 1960, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization that provides primary rescue and emergency medical services to the city of Charlottesville, the University of Virginia and a large portion of Albemarle County. CARS serves more than 110,000 people, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Every 45 minutes, on average, someone in the Charlottesville-Albemarle community receives immediate medical assistance from this dedicated team of volunteers.

CARS volunteer membership consists of citizens who donate their free time and talents to helping our community.

For more information on the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad, visit its web site at www.rescue1.org.

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