Community Ambulance of Green Lane and Harleysville Area EMS officially began working as one organization last month in an effort to provide better emergency medical services to the region.
Under a merger which will bring the two organizations together, officially still in the works, each company will retain its name but Green Lane will be known as a substation of Harleysville EMS. Montgomery County began dispatching Green Lane under those guidelines back in late December.
Green Lane will continue to operate out of its headquarters at 209 Walnut Street in the borough, according to Jeanne Ruth, president of Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane. There will be no lapse in coverage, she said.
"The two organizations are working together; this is not a takeover," said Ruth, who was brought onto the Harleysville Area EMS board of directors. "This is a major costsaver to keep us up and running."
Ruth, who said Green Lane's costs were skyrocketing, including a $1,000 cost per month to insure its five staff members, also noted Green Lane's main coverage area of its home borough and Marlborough Township is spread out.
"We have a nice size area but it's very rural," she explained. "Through this mutual agreement we can cover our area much better and much faster. This is offering better care for the community."
Following a partnership formed back in January of last year, Harleysville provided Green Lane with a paramedic and advanced life support equipment to enable that organization to answer calls for help for things like cardiac cases and traumatic injuries. While Green Lane had emergency medical technicians and first responders, it had to call on outside agencies for ALS support, which accounts for about 70 percent of 911 calls, officials said.
Green Lane was the last ambulance company in the county, according to records, to only offer basic life support services until last year.
Renee Sullivan, president of the board of directors for Harleysville Area EMS, reiterated that the "details of the merger are in the review process" but that the two organizations expect to finalize the move in the coming weeks. Harleysville Area EMS officials said they didn't want to comment further on the merger until then.
According to an ambulance report for Green Lane Borough Council, submitted by Don Lynch, chief and director of operations for Harleysville, dated Jan. 5, the two companies began working as a single entity as of Jan. 1. Three members of Green Lane's board of directors were brought onto Harleysville's board, he said.
More details are expected to follow once the merger is finalized.
The Community Ambulance Service of Green Lane was formed back in 1956 by the Green Lane-Marlboro Lions Club. The first ambulance, purchased and donated by the club, was a used 1948 Cadillac. The service now operates out of its Walnut Street headquarters which it purchased in 2000 from the Green Lane Fire Company. Officials said Green Lane responded to between 600 and 700 calls in 2012.