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June 30. 2013 7:04PM

Region's newest ambulance service eyes expansion


American Ambulance Services-New England, which moved into Somersworth in March, has begun transporting patients around the area. (COURTESY)

SOMERSWORTH — An ambulance company that began serving the city last week just extended its presence in the Seacoast and has ambitions to expand deeper into the region.

After receiving a multi-year contract to provide routine and emergency service to Somersworth, American Ambulance Services-New England, which moved into the area in March, has begun transporting patients from the area.

American Ambulance also partnered with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover to transport patients from the facility.

"Coupled with earlier contracts with several area nursing homes, dialysis centers and hospice facilities, American has quickly become the largest medical transportation provider on the Seacoast," according to a release.

Beginning today, American Ambulance crews will serve the nearby communities of Kittery and Eliot, Maine.

The commitments American Ambulance made in the three communities "will provide a level of dedicated advanced life support ambulance coverage that these communities have never seen," according to Brendan McNiff, chief operating officer of American Ambulance.

Additionally, McNiff said the company will continue to build relationships within the city by providing coverage to the Somersworth Children's Festival, teaching community cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), holding public open houses, sponsoring the Somersworth Elderly Housing cookout and participating in the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Senior Planning for the Future Fair. "By contracting with AANE, these communities will receive a considerable upgrade in services at no additional cost to the towns," McNiff said, adding the subsidies paid by Kittery and Eliot to their current provider will be eliminated when AANE takes over next month.

Altogether, McNiff said their crews will soon transport patients from the region, as well as Rochester and from the Portland, Maine area.

As a result, McNiff said the company doubled its staff in the Seacoast. There will be 45 positions in their Somersworth station and 15 in the new locations. He said they continue to seek applications to hire full-time paramedics and there are additional opportunities for part-time/per-diem paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMT) and dispatchers.

"We are extremely proud of our team and the business plan they have executed over the last few months," McNiff said in the release. "Our strong, long-term relationships with facilities on the Seacoast are the key to our ongoing success."

Currently, American, CarePlus and American Medical Response, which currently provides service in Manchester, are competing for a five-year contract with the city. Officials in Manchester are still considering the three requests for proposals.

"We are awaiting a final decision on the Manchester 911 RFP," McNiff said, adding it would be a key part of their expansion into the central and southern part of the state.

"We are also strongly considering a move into the Portland, Maine market," McNiff said.

American Ambulance Service, which is owned by Falck in Denmark, also serves communities in Massachusetts — including Allston, Beverly, East Boston, Hyde Park and on Cape Cod — and several locations in Florida.

jquinn@newstote.com