Note: The following letter was submitted as a a response to an article Port Jefferson Patch mentioned earlier this week.
As President of the Port Jefferson Volunteer Ambulance Co, Inc. I am writing to amplify your article, and to correct some details. What the article does not mention is that the Port Jefferson Volunteer Ambulance Company, Inc. returned almost $185,000 to the Village of Port Jefferson in 2012, so that the Village’s net cost of ambulance service is closer to $350,000 much less than the amount claimed. This money comes from insurance billing we do at the request of the villages and for their sole benefit.
PJVAC is a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1959 and has been and is dedicated, ever since, to delivery of emergency medical care and ambulance service. Our primary service area includes the incorporated villages of Port Jefferson and Belle Terre as well as the Mt. Sinai Ambulance District. We deliver care and transport to the residents, businesses, guests, customers and passers through within that service area.
Our sole rule for service is that someone needs help. Our officers and board members and many of our service providers are unpaid volunteers. Our costs are our costs. As people who live here, we are acutely aware of the burden of those costs on the taxpayers.
In conjunction with the Villages of Port Jefferson and Belle Terre we have undertaken a billing program to leverage insurance coverage of patients we treat and transport within the villages. That money is returned to the villages. The Mt. Sinai Ambulance District has not permitted us to bill, so their taxpayers bear the full burden of the cost of ambulance service.
We fully support the concept of “fair share” and we and our attorneys are working to give effect to the historical understanding that cost would be divided according to the LIPA census. The division of our costs is not up to us, but is determined by whatever treaty the municipalities make among themselves. The fact is that the Village of Port Jefferson does not contract with the Mt. Sinai Ambulance District. Its contract is with the PJVAC which has three separate contracts with each municipality.
The issue is lack of coordination between the municipalities with their different budgetary cycles. Since Brookhaven, and through it the ambulance district, concludes its budget earlier than the villages, the villages feel trumped by the town’s budget. We are working hard to facilitate a solution. In the meantime, we want the community to know that, in addition to providing first class emergency medical care, the PJVAC has been and continues to innovate in generating revenues to defray the cost to the taxpayer.
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