Local medical transport rapidly expands in first two years
By Lorelei Stevens
YARMOUTH PORT – Cape native Alex Theoharidis went to the state fire academy through the Yarmouth Fire Department. He successfully completed the EMT and higher-level paramedic programs at Cape Cod Community College. And when he still couldn’t find a full-time job, he decided to start his own company.
Coastal Medical Transportation Services opened for business on July 8, 2013, with two ambulances and three part-time employees. Two years later, the company operates 17 vehicles and employs 75 people.
Theoharidis is 25 years old.
“Why this business? Essentially, I wasn’t able to land a full-time position down here, I wanted to get into business myself and it just kind of worked,” he said. “There’s a need.”
Coastal offers non-emergency transportation for patients with medical needs at three levels – individuals who use a cane, walker or wheelchair, those in need of basic life support monitoring and those who are critically ill.
“We don’t do any 911 work. The fire departments do all the 911,” Theoharidis said. “We do interfacility transports for patients who are very sick to and from health care facilities – hospitals, nursing homes and free-standing clinics.”
Coastal's rapid growth can be tracked to two factors: the Cape's aging population, and a younger local workforce facing a need for specialized, career-oriented jobs.
Michael Goodman, executive director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, said that the aging population on the Cape offers opportunities — as well as challenges — and that Coastal Medical has seized on one.
“The key is balance,” Goodman said. “There’s a market demand for services like these that make it easier for people to stay in nonhospital facilities as they age and it can be expected to grow as the tail end of the baby boom generation moves through.”
Theoharidis said Coastal is committed to providing a training platform for recently certified EMTs and those working on getting their credentials.
SEE TRANSPORT, E3
EMT Lloyd Taylor, left, and paramedic Patrick Lofgren inventory the contents of a Coastal Medical Transport ambulance at the company’s South Yarmouth headquarters.
STEVE HEASLIP/CAPE COD TIMES
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