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Ambulance service in critical condition

Gorham, N.Y. A volunteer ambulance service that assists approximately 300 patients each year is in a financial crunch.

This is the tightest Ive ever seen it, said Kevin Tomion, an E.M.T. for the Stanley-Hall-Gorham Volunteer Ambulance Service. He also oversees the groups finances. Were trying to avoid having to increase our rateswe feel that will be a hardship on the community.

The non-profit ambulance service operates mostly on whatever insurance companies pay, significantly taking the burden off patients.

Recently, however, costs to operate the service have spiked. New state and county rules requiring radio upgrades and electronic patient data entry systems have put a strain on the volunteer ambulance service.

Volunteer ambulance supervisor Richard Eaton said he doesnt disagree with the new rules and regulations, but regrets the burden he feels it places on some non-profit services.

We had to take our operating capital to sustain our operations, he said. No money was forthcoming from anybody to cover that [the new regulations], they just said, you need to do it, now do it.

Eaton recently made a trip to Albany to lobby State Senators and Assembly members for funding to blunt the cost of making the ambulance upgrades.

In total, the volunteer ambulance is available to approximately 5,000 people living between Canandaigua and Seneca Lake.

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Washington Times