Monroe Ambulance adjusting to closure of Brockport Ambulance

By on December 4, 2017

Mike Bove of Monroe Ambulance spoke to Sweden Town Board members during their regular meeting Tuesday, November 28, reassuring them that residents in the town and the village will not be impacted adversely by the sudden ceasing of operations of the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BVAC) on November 21.

“We’ve been meeting every day and have adjusted our staffing and resources,” Bove said.

He said a third ambulance will be brought in the week of December 4 and Monroe Ambulance officials will be meeting Monday, December 4 with officials at the College at Brockport and the Village of Brockport.

“We want to alleviate any fears,” Bove said. “If you call for an ambulance, one will show up, rest assured.”

He explained to council members that non-life threatening, non-medical related calls might experience a slightly longer response time and that non-medical transports will now be done by the Brockport Police Department, which is standard procedure in Monroe County.  He also noted that local health care professionals expect a volatile flu season.

“All Rochester hospitals (currently) are over 100 percent capacity,” Bove said. He explained that situation can extend turn-around times for ambulance calls.

The loss of Brockport Ambulance covering the Village of Brockport will mean an extra 800 calls each year for Monroe Ambulance, Bove said. Now, the next closest ambulance will be in Spencerport.

“It’s not good for this community to have to lose this ambulance,” he said of the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Bove said Monroe Ambulance was notified by the BVAC the night before it closed its doors, and that at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, November 21, BVAC officials informed 911 that they were no longer taking calls.

Sweden Supervisor Rob Carges thanked Bove for his report, and said it was re-assuring to hear that Monroe has been able to pick up village calls without affecting response in the town.

Brockport community members express shock at loss of  Brockport Ambulance Corps

Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman told the Suburban News and Hamlin-Clarkson Herald she was “absolutely floored” she did not hear about the ceasing of service of the BVAC first. She said the news came to her after others had heard about it and contacted her for information on November 21.

Blackman said she had been meeting monthly with Colin Arthur, BVAC Chief, but was not prepared for the sudden shut down of service.

“We are sad to see the Brockport Ambulance go,” Mayor Blackman said.  “We really looked out for them and wanted them to succeed.”

Mayor Blackman said there had been some talk of a merger with Gates Ambulance.

She said she was eventually informed on November 21 by Colin Arthur that budget issues forced the BVAC to shut down when they couldn’t meet payroll.

In a statement released November 21, the BVAC stated many circumstances led to the difficult decision to cease operations – including limited call volume, reduced revenue, the need to relocate to a new base of operations, and limited volunteers. Constriction of payments from insurers, increased reliance of paid career staff and increased overall expenses also were factors.

Christopher Martin, a long-time member of the BVAC said the news also came as a shock to him. “I cannot believe there couldn’t have been a way to keep it going,” he said.

Martin said he believes hurdles facing the Corps might have been overcome, especially with new leadership preparing to take office in both the Towns of Sweden and Clarkson.

“It’s frustrating to see it fall apart,” Martin said.

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