Macedon Village Ambulance problems to lead to demise?
For the past two annual budgets, Macedon Village Trustee Dave Sliney stood alone as the dissenting voice. He stated he would not vote for the budget that kept the Village ambulance service funded. He was out-voted 4-1 in both years.
Sliney, along with Macedon Town representatives, saw the handwriting on the wall. Ever since the establishment of the Macedon Town Ambulance service 6 years ago, the redundancy and ongoing feuding between the Village and Town has resulted in fewer and fewer calls for the Macedon Village Ambulance. The Town established the town-wide coverage after Town Supervisor Bill Hammond said the residents needed a full time/paid service with the realization that volunteer services were in a steady decline.
In addition, the Macedon Village Ambulance has had problems fully staffing calls. Due to the ongoing hard feelings between the Village and Town, the Village refused to have, or recognize the Town Ambulance services as their back-up for missed calls. This has resulted in more frayed nerves.
The debate came to a head on Saturday (7/12). Wayne Worden, age 68, was feeling ill. He drove himself to the Look of Total Hair Design Shop, located on Main Street in the Village of Macedon. Wayne’s wife, Jan Worden and daughter, Karrie Bowers were there. Karrie, a member of the Macedon Town Ambulance Service and a Town of Macedon employee, immediately recognized the signs of a heart attack. “His blood pressure was plummeting. It was 60/40, so I immediately called 911,” recalled Karrie.
Unfortunately, the Macedon Village Ambulance could not muster a crew for the call. They directed 911 to call in a County fly car that, at the time, was located in the Town of Ontario. Due to the Macedon Village policy, the Macedon Town Ambulance Service was left out of the loop.
Karrie was not about to let her father die. She called the Macedon Town Ambulance, loaded her father in her car and drove him over the Village/Town line to the VanBortel car dealership on Route 31, where the Town Ambulance was awaiting.
With an Advanced Life Support (ALS) technician onboard, the quick decision was to transport Wayne to Rochester General Hospital. His vitals were sent ahead and a cardiac surgeon was waiting. “The doctor told us that if we had not gotten him there within the next 15 minutes, he could have died. There would have been no saving him,” recalled Karrie.
Wayne had a blood clot in his heart and the man who had “not a lick of problems in his life”, received two stents in the vessels leading to his heart, according to Kerrie.
Macedon Village Mayor, Marie Cramer, had been a staunch supporter to keep the Village Ambulance going with one full time ALS and using volunteers as drivers and other staff. She reinforced that decision in a letter to the New York Department of Health officials in March of 2013.
On March 16, 2013, the Town approved a new resolution, specifically requesting an Ambulance Service Certificate which included the entire limits of the Village. The request was denied by the Department of Health.
This led to a lawsuit filed by the Town stating that since the Town Ambulance is paid for by all residents of the Town, their operating Ambulance Certificate should not exclude them from service to the Village residents.
“This is all to feed her (Mayor Marie Cramer’s) ego. There is no way our residents should be paying for two separate ambulances,” said Sliney.
The Town of Macedon received a court decision on Monday (7/14) after commencing an Article 78 proceeding that sought an order requiring the New York State Department of Health to issue an Ambulance Certificate to the Macedon Town Ambulance.
The court decision now allows the Town Ambulance to include as “Primary Territory”, the Village of Macedon. It stated that since the Town of Macedon was issued its permanent operating Ambulance Service Certificate in 2009, with its Primary Territory the “Town of Macedon”, the Department of Health could not modify the certificate to exclude the Village.
The court decision takes effect on Monday, July 21st.
Ironically, following an executive session by the Village Board on Wednesday (7/9), the board voted to eliminate the full time position and have the Macedon Village Ambulance Service become a ‘volunteer only’ service. This also means that the Village Ambulance could not bill for their calls.
Village Board member, Dave Kelly said that, since the Village already owns the two ambulances, the cost to run an all-volunteer service should be minimal. Kelly also added that the Town Ambulance has always been the secondary unit called in case the Village ambulance was unable to answer.
Cramer, however, has tossed around the idea of using either Finger Lakes Ambulance, or Rural Metro in the Village. The Mayor went on record stating that when a 911 call comes in for the Village, the Village Ambulance would be called, and if unavailable, the call would be directed to the Finger Lakes Ambulance, or Rural Metro Ambulance. If they are not available the fourth in line would be a call for a Macedon Town Ambulance.
Macedon Town Supervisor Bill Hammond pointed out that valuable time could be lost in the ‘cat and mouse game’ of trying to get an ambulance to respond to a possible critical medical emergency. He said the paid ambulance staff is supported by customer billing and town taxpayers. “All the residents in the Town help pay for the service, so why not use it.”
Macedon Village trustee, David Sliney, said he will put forth a motion at this Wednesday’s (7/23) Village meeting. The resolution will call for the complete disbanding of the Village Ambulance Service.
“It is absolutely stupid not to call the Town. We (residents) cannot wait for someone to get a crew together. It is just silly,” he stated. “Why keep it. Who the hell needs it? Why?” Why should the taxpayers pay for two ambulance services?
Sliney also stated that perhaps it is time to “rethink this thing”, referring to the Village government.
Kelly admitted that it perhaps is inevitable that someday the Village government would disappear, in light of recent trends. He stated it was too bad the Village and Town couldn’t work together. He described ‘us’ as all the residents of the community of Macedon.
As for Macedon Village business owner, Jan Worden, she said she has every intention of going to the Village of Macedon’s meeting on Wednesday and giving them more than a piece of her mind concerning the near death incident with her husband.