The Hempstead Village board of trustees has put on hold a permanent contract with North Shore University Hospital for emergency services and medical transportation.
Board members last week postponed a vote to make permanent an agreement that created a six-month trial period, which comes to an end this month. The village entered into the temporary agreement with the hospital for ambulance services in June.
The move came after Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. expressed dissatisfaction with Nassau police department emergency medical technician services. Hall said only one EMT would respond when village police called for Nassau's EMT services, requiring a village police officer to drive the ambulance to the hospital because the EMT had to assist the patient.
But Hall said that before signing an agreement with North Shore, he first plans to discuss the matter with Nassau County officials "to see what they can offer."
"I cannot have our officers driving the ambulance," Hall said. "I need my cops on the street."
In the meantime, Hall said, he would try to get an extension of the trial period from North Shore, whose response time for the village is about four minutes. About 480 calls per month have been received, he said.
North Shore offers the ambulance service at no cost to the village. The hospital bills a patient's insurance company $400 to $600, depending on the services provided in the ambulance and the distance traveled to the hospital, Hall has said.
"Everyone is 100 percent happy with North Shore," Hall said.