Topsham — After responding to a string of mutual aid calls to Bowdoinham, Topsham will now get reimbursed if it has to go to Bowdoinham.

The action was spurred in response to Bowdoinham entering into a $25,000 contract with the for-profit North East Mobile Health Services in July.

“We were being a good neighbor and assisting Bowdoinham,” said Topsham fire Chief Chris McLaughlin. “Once the contract kicked in, that sort of changed how we looked at it.”

In the first month of the contract between North East and Bowdoinham, McLaughlin said Topsham still responded to 13 of 36 calls, prompting McLaughlin to have what he described as cordial discussions with representatives from North East.

North East has agreed to pay Topsham $250 for every time it responds to a Bowdoinham call. The company’s CEO assured McLaughlin that North East’s management would push to better cover Bowdoinham.

“We weren’t obligated to go to Bowdoinham, but in the past we’ve done about 70 calls a year,” said McLaughlin. “This is the first time we’ve had anything like that with North East. Hopefully it will help Bowdoinham with their service to their town.”

Since Topsham’s agreement with North East, which Topsham councilors approved Sept. 6, there have been five EMS responses to Bowdoinham since Aug. 1, including two in September. That allows Topsham to be reimbursed when it responds to some EMS calls that it can’t send a bill out for.

“There are some calls that we can’t bill for,” said McLaughlin. “If we’re called for a lift-assist, you can’t bill for that.”

Before entering a contract with North East, Bowdoinham had approached Topsham about a possible contract for EMS services. Topsham Selectmen didn’t entertain the idea at the time, citing concerns that it would affect coverage in Topsham. Bowdoinham voters approved the $25,000 contract with North East in June.

[email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: