During the Arts Festival in Brockport this weekend people from out of town kept asking, why are all those Brockport Ambulance signs on the lawns? What’s that all about?
The signs have sprung up on lawns all over Brockport, Clarkson and Sweden because for no apparent reason, at this time last year, the two towns decided not to renew their contract with the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BVAC).
The BVAC is the successor agency to the Brockport Fire Department Ambulance Corps (BFDAC), and has therefore been providing reliable ambulance service to the three communities since 1962. Despite that long record of service, however, the towns gave the ambulance contract to Monroe Ambulance, a for-profit company.
There are three different signs. You might see the first sign anywhere in the Brockport area. But the other two signs are town specific, so you’ll only see them in either Clarkson or Sweden.
- I Want and Vote for Brockport Ambulance Patient-Centered Care
- I want Brockport Ambulance in Sweden
- I want Brockport Ambulance in Clarkson
People in the Brockport area have asked a number of questions about the ambulance contract. Here are the answers to some of the questions people are asking.
How does Brockport Ambulance better serve the residents of Sweden? It comes down to four points.
- The Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps is a 24-7 Advanced Life Support (Paramedic) service staffing 1 full ambulance 24 hours a day. This level of care giver is equal to what is provided by Monroe Ambulance. The patient gets the same quality of care care, whether it is from a Paramedic from Monroe Ambulance or a Paramedic from the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
- Service from a business standpoint is greater. Members of the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps are here in the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The management of the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps is also here in the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Neither of those things is true of Monroe Ambulance.
- The post treatment practices of the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps are much better. The Ambulance Corps does not actively utilize collection agencies to collect unpaid bills, unless an insurance company has verified that the payment for the ambulance service has been sent to the patient, but the patient has not been sent that money on to the Ambulance Corps to complete payment for services rendered.
- The Brockport Ambulance Corp is dedicated to the Greater Brockport community (Brockport, Clarkson, and Sweden) and nowhere else. The members of the Ambulance Corps have no commitments outside of this Greater Brockport community. That is not true of Monroe Ambulance.
When does the decision have to be made? By the 20th of August, the towns of Sweden and Clarkson must decide by vote not to automatically renew the current contracts with Monroe Ambulance.
If no such action is taken, the standing contracts will automatically renew at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2016. Should the towns decide not to automatically renew the current contracts, they will have to publish an RFP (Request for Proposals) for an ambulance provider.
If you want the towns of Sweden and Clarkson to return the ambulance contract to Brockport Ambulance, contact the members of the Sweden and Clarkson town councils and tell them that.
Does Brockport Ambulance have the financial wherewithal to maintain its service and upgrade its equipment? Yes. The revenue for the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps comes through third party billing (insurance companies). The Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps is currently using that money to upgrade its equipment.
Does Brockport Ambulance have the financial wherewithal to expand its operations to more than one staffed ambulance around the clock? Yes, Staffing plans are a reflection of specific call volume needs, and these plans are developed during strategic advance planning sessions between the Board of Directors and the Operations Staff of the Brockport Ambulance. This team has already developed multiple pre-plans to transition seamlessly into whatever staff is required to meet the call volume needs.
Does Brockport Ambulance charge the Town of Sweden the same amount for service as Monroe Ambulance? It is impossible to answer that question. Billing rates are proprietary, so the members of the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps do not know what Monroe Ambulance’s current billing rates are, and vice versa.
The members of the town councils know, but they can’t release that information. However, they have never said that cost is the issue. In fact, cost does not seem to be an issue. For example, Sweden Supervisor Rob Carges did not mention cost at all in his letter to the editor published in the August 2, 2015 Suburban News.
Can Brockport Ambulance contribute to or supports any of the candidates in the upcoming election in Sweden? No. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps cannot legally support any candidates for office. But Monroe Ambulance can.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, the playing field isn’t level. Because of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the 2010 Citizens United case, corporations (such as Monroe Ambulance) can make contributions to the political campaigns of anyone or any political party they choose.
The Brockport Volunteer Ambulance cannot legally put up signs asking people to vote for the Campaign for Change candidates. But the Campaign for Change candidates in Sweden can certainly run a campaign, that if you support the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps then vote for the Campaign for Change Candidates.
Stay tuned for more information on the staunch volunteers of the Brockport Volunteer Ambulance Corps.