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RVES Ambulance Corps Closing in October

Written By Editor on 9/23/16 | 9/23/16

The membership of RVES regretfully announces after months of hard work and discussion with Town and Village officials that RVES will cease operations on 31 October 2016 at 23.59 after 38 years of service to the community due to financial reasons.

The Town worked diligently to find funds to sustain the ambulance service.  Sadly the $12,800 is less than one half of what is needed when other fund raising and insurance reimbursements are added in.

Some of the larger items in our budget include:  Worker's Compensation Insurance:  $15,000, mortgage $14,000, building, vehicle and malpractice insurance $7,000.  Added on to those costs are: utilities, diesel fuel,  medical supplies, uniforms, equipment plus a thirteen year old ambulance and you can see how expensive running an ambulance service is.  In a small town losing population survival without without government help and support is not possible.

The membership felt it would be irresponsible to accept tax dollars and still have to close our doors in a few months time due to the help being "too little, too late".

At this point in time the membership, while still committed and dedicated to helping people in need, see no route forward without a substantial commitment of public funds.

The Schoharie News will follow up on this story as it develops.
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5 comments:

upstateny1000 said...

RVES volunteers have provided a great service to the community but the financial crisis the squad is facing is not a surprise or sudden. Concerns have been expressed about their fiscal management for some time. Despite having received $22,000 in “grant” monies from Constitution Pipeline Company in 2014-2015 RVES’s financial situation continued to decline. Questions have been raised about how those monies were spent and reported as part of the squad’s 990 report to the IRS. Red flags should have been raised years ago and RVES should have arranged for an independent audit to ensure funding was being appropriately managed and to bolster their request to the Town for assistance. The Town was understandably hesitant to offer more support out of concern about the squads viability, fiscal management and governance. The answer to small struggling emergency squads may indeed be in a county-wide, publicly funded service that could be more efficient and less expensive than the reliance on for-profit ambulance services.

MerlinMedic said...

First, that $36,000 are annual expenses . Those are the big ticket items. The grant money went to a $16,000 stretcher to assist with Bariatric patients. The rest for PPE. As to your red flag comment the person went to jail and insurance made RVES whole. As to questions, who raised them? If you, whoever you are hiding behind an annonomous screen name, you could have volunteered and seen for yourself no one was taking money. Yes, there was a paid paramedic/administrator for several years, working at 1/3 the rate the job should pay and that stuck in the craw of one disgruntled ex member, but to imply fiscal shenanigans with Jeff Haslin and the Bank of Richmondville keeping an eye on things? Really? The Town & village have not paid for EMS in over 20 years. So now the citizens will suffer. Now, to your comment about a county run ambulance service. Very simply it will break the county. 3 ambulances staffed 24/7 will require 30 FTEs. With union pay and benefits. Even at $15/hr that is $936,000 in payroll. That doesn't figure in taxes or benefits. Then you have tod people willing to work below rate. Paramedics get $21/hr. Also, there are maney times more than 3 ambulances are out.

upstateny1000 said...

Mr. Haslin is not an independent auditor. He is an accountant paid by RVES. In that role, he has been filing 990 forms with the IRS that have shown the squad operating at a loss for at least 4 years. Repeated statements of loss should indicate the need for a comprehensive action plan. The Bank of Richmondville is also not responsible for conducting operational audits. No one has implied financial shenanigans (other than the noted incident in which someone “went to jail”) only the possibility of less than ideal fiscal management (example: the use of $16,000 in grant monies to purchase specialized equipment rather than paying down debt, which may or may not have been the best use of the funds.) Concerns about that management could have been addressed, and an action plan developed, by engaging an independent auditor and following his/her recommendations for regaining solvency. That is a process non-profits engage in quite frequently. Finally, no one is hiding behind a “screen name” only submitting comments the wat that is required by this site. I, and others, have been very open about our concerns and have signed our names to letters to the editor. I have stated repeatedly that the work of the RVES volunteers is exemplary and appreciated but that does not change the fact that the community is losing an important service, a loss that may have been prevented if prudent action was taken other than criticizing the Town for refusing step in an solve RVES’ long-brewing fiscal crisis. – Bob Nied, Richmondville

MerlinMedic said...

Sadly Bob, an audit like you suggest would reveal little. As the Town, Village & EMO have all been shown every other volunteer ambulance receives between $35,000 to over $50,000 annually from the towns and villages served. If Richmondville Town & village ponyed up $35,000 we would not be here. They have known for over two years, had access to the books since Fall 2015 and just last week raised the specter of an audit. Contrary to the rumor mill our leadership is considered to be quite good by all EMS agencies except the County's. We coordinate all CME education in the county, I am vice-president of SCARSA, assigned to the county QA/QI committee, a voting member of the AAREMS Regional Council, and lastly, our medical director (and hence part of our leadership team) is the Director of Bassett Cobleskill's emergency department. BTW, you may wish to look at their revenues, down over 37% or talk to your doctor about ACA and how it it is harming rural health care.

MerlinMedic said...

BTW, I have no idea why Google is using my gamer name. This is Ed Hillenbrand

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