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Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance Turning the Corner
Written by Larry Roeder Editor
2014-11-05

        Back in April this newspaper reported on economic issues that the Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance Association (UPVAA) was facing.  That report cited many financial issues that were causing a bit of uncertainty within the group.

        At the time there was an $8,000 monthly mortgage, an unsold former headquarters that couldn't get a bid worth half of its appraised value from just three years prior, an economy that forced businesses, individuals and families to take a hard look at, and cut back on, their contributions, and a series of overruns and extra costs associated with the construction of their new headquarters.

        Today, UPVAA Treasurer Ed Buchinski believes the group is "turning the corner."

        With the recent sale of the old headquarters at 719 Main Street in Red Hill, help from QNB bank restructuring the mortgage and a $3,000 donation from Sands Ford of Red Hill towards a $10,000 engine re-build for one of the ambulances, things seem to have stabilized.

        Buchinski and UPVAA President Lamar Weikel sat down recently to review the progress made by the group since April.  The good news is that things have stabilized to the point where, in addition to providing a primary emergency service crew 24 hours a day/365 days a year, the group may be bringing back a second crew on certain days of the week by Thanksgiving.  It is welcome news for the communities they serve.  Adding a second crew will cut down on the time waiting for an ambulance from outside of the community, when the on-duty UPVAA staff is out on another call.

        With the recent rash of mergers and closures of area ambulance groups, Buchinski emphasized that, "It is important for us to remain independent and community based."

        Both Buchinski and Weikel want the community to benefit by the progress the group has made over the past few months and "continue to support us."  In addition to cleaning up the sale of the old Red Hill headquarters and working with QNB officials on the mortgage, the group is preparing a strategic business plan that will be presented to officials of each municipality they serve.

        Current East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill borough officials have representatives that serve on the UPVAA board of directors.  Upper Hanover Township and parts of Lower Milford Township are also served by the UPVAA.

        According to Buchinski, Upper Hanover Township currently steers $28,000 to $40,000 a year to the group via a local emergency services tax, East Greenville donates $6,000 and Pennsburg donates $4,000.  The UPVAA operating budget for 2014-2015 is $624,700.

        The group is also aggressively addressing outstanding bills owed to the UPVAA.

        Another thing UPVAA officials are eying is a rejuvenation of an auxiliary group of volunteers to support fundraising and other events of the organization.  Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the group at www.upperperkambulance.org or call (215) 679-9392 and leave a message.

        Weikel mentioned that, to date, $94,000 has been collected from community memberships.  Yet, over $400,000 has been invoiced to patients who are not members of the organization, showing that membership in the group frees patients from substantial emergency medical costs not paid by their insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. 

        Membership is encouraged and will save members from having to pay those extra costs.    

        A follow-up to the 2014-2015 membership drive is currently underway.  Those who may not have had a chance to sign up can still do so by visiting www.upperperkambulance.org.


 

 

 

 

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