COVA won’t operate ambulance overnight starting Sunday
ALBION – COVA Ambulance announced this evening that it will no longer provide overnight ambulance services starting this Sunday.
The organization has been operating at a deficit, and has been seeking help from local municipalities to stay afloat. Jennifer Stilwell, COVA president, said the central Orleans towns have told them that the municipalities can’t “gift” COVA any money. COVA leaders are hopeful the money can be presented not as a gift but in a way to keep a critical local service.
Stilwell said the county told COVA it can’t give the organization any funding and it’s up to the four towns – Albion, Barre, Gaines and Carlton – to try to help.
COVA issued the following public notice:
“We are saddened to announce that as of this Sunday 09/18/2022 we are forced to implement a disruption of service. We can no longer afford to operate ambulance services from the hours of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. from Monday through Sunday and we will begin to attempt to utilize a rotating schedule with our partnered EMS Agency Hamlin EMS to provide ambulance coverage if available to the central parts of Orleans County.
“Despite our best efforts we have still been unable to secure municipal funding to help offset our current budget deficit. The financial burden that is upon us has stretched our annual budget beyond capacity.
“For the past three years we have maintained ambulance services covering 96% of the medical emergency calls in the central part of Orleans County. Throughout this period, we have begged for help from our local leadership.
“We have had to make payroll cuts, staff cuts, set up lease programs as well as implemented numerous operational budget cuts to reduce budget expenses. We struggle to continue to maintain operations with the outstanding patient bills and continuous decrease in health insurance reimbursement rates along with the increasing cost of medical supplies, insurance, fuel, utilities and so much more.
“We have been encouraged by the outpouring of community support and are hopeful that we will somehow find a resolution.
“Please take notice that COVA Ambulance will not be operating from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Sunday and we will begin to attempt to utilize a rotating schedule with our partnered EMS Agency Hamlin EMS to provide ambulance coverage if available to the central parts of Orleans County.”
– Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance “COVA”