COCVAC Costs Require Help
Central Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps is putting together a financial plan that could request support funding from municipalities it covers.
Five COCVAC officers attended last week’s Waterville Village Board meeting. There to address coverage of its Zone 3 - the southern part of Oneida County - the discussion veered toward the ambulance service’s rising costs.
Oneida County Legislator Colin Idzi, a member of the COCVAC Board of Directors, asked members of the agency to attend the Board meeting to discuss coverage out of the Oriskany Falls station.
Thomas Meyers, Chief of EMS for COCVAC, said during the day a response team is stationed in Oriskany Falls. At night, when calls to this area drop off, Meyers said the ambulance relocates to the Clark Mills or Whitesboro stations, where there are more calls. “Every ambulance service has to be part of mutual aid,’’ he said. “When we’re called we have to go help out and that is in other parts of the county.’’
He said the response times for a call in Zone 3 are 15 to 16 minutes, including at night when less traffic allows the driver to make up for the added distance.
Board secretary Dean Dzwonkas said the agency, which employs most of its staff rather than rely on volunteers, is looking at its current funding model for ways to improve it.
Dzwonkas said about one-third of a transport call, or $300 of $1,000 ride, is covered by insurance carried by the patient. Outside of grants and funding COCVAC finds, that is the only revenue source.
Meyers said the agency is looking to partner more with the municipalities it serves. Both he and Dzwonkas said as the funding stands, it is not sustainable.
Waterville Mayor Gene Ostrander said when the village received ambulance service from the former Waterville Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps, there were contracts between the agency and municipalities, which provided funding.
COCVAC’s costs are operational, from salaries to equipment, supplies and training. Meyers said the funding requested to each municipality would be based on call volume for one-third of the expenses. Zone 3 accounts for 17 percent of COCVAC’s overall calls.
Over the last two years costs have gone up, Meyers said, while insurance reimbursement is 26 to 30 percent.
Ostrander said the village wants to be assured of an ambulance service and asked…