Ambulance contacts continue to be a thorny issue in the Merrimack Valley. Some area communities like Andover and my own in Tewksbury have 911 emergency ambulance services covered by the local fire department. Others like Chelmsford and Lowell use a private contractor. In recent years, the Lowell City Manager has negotiated a fee to be paid to the city. Not so in Lawrence where until a few days ago the city used a private, well-known area contractor. New Mayor Rivera has hired Lawrence General Hospital to provide ambulance services wanting to “strengthen the hospital’s standing in the region” as it ramps up plans for a $72 million expansion and to end what he describes as the “impropriety’’ that hung over the service under the administration of former Mayor William Lantigua. One charge had ambulances being sent out of the country in a tit-for-tat Lantigua arrangement.
Rivera’s transition team recommended that the city would get quicker, better service and a financial benefit from allowing the city’s fire department to do the work. But Rivera has chosen a different path with Lawrence General. The new provider LGH will also not pay a fee to the city. Swirling through this action are recorded political contributions to both Lantigua and Rivera, political connections as a former state rep is hired as the ambulance provider’s lobbyist and the Mayor’s pledge that doing business with the city of Lawrence will be different than in the past.
Patriot Ambulance based in Chelmsford used to provide the ambulance service and owners have recently engaged the lobbying services of former State Rep David Torrisi. Of note ~ Rivera’s highly respected Chief of Staff is Lisa Torrisi – the new lobbyist’s sister.
Stay tuned – with “no comment” yet from Lawrence General, Patriot or Torrisi, there may be more to come.
Eagle-Tribune writer Keith Eddings lays out the story … read it here: http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x1387853195/Mayor-drops-Patriot-Ambulance-hires-Lawrence-General