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COVA, Monroe Ambulance dispute coverage in Orleans County

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - A major concern Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance (COVA) is response times. 

For COVA, they feel an Orleans County organization should be the main provider for its own county, but Monroe Ambulance says there's no reason for this potential change.

COVA provides service to central towns in Orleans County.  Laurie Schawb, COVA's executive director, says now they're ready to grow. Monroe Ambulance, who covers eastern towns in Orleans County, would be moved from primary to backup. 

"It's not a take over because we already exist in Orleans County," Schwab said. "The best thing is to always use the closest appropriate ambulance and currently we are the closest appropriate ambulance."

COVA says if they are allowed to provide ambulance services to the county, it will not only increase jobs, but lower response times.

"Ours is 7 minutes," Schwab said. 

Mike Bove, the deputy chief of Monroe Ambulance, says back in 2014, Monroe Ambulance filed to become the primary service for eastern towns in Orleans County for a reason.

"Holley Ambulance was failing and has gone out of business so it was pretty clear there was a defined need at that point," Bove said.

Bove adds that their response times are under 15 minutes, but calls COVA as a mutual aid if the emergency is over 15 minutes.

"They don't need an operating certificate to do that now, they do that now," Bove said. "That's what we call mutual aid."

With 10 out of 12 Orleans County towns in favor of the primary coverage switch to COVA, Schwab is hopeful COVA will be granted the certification to serve all of Orleans County.

COVA's request now goes to the Big Lakes Regional EMS Council for a vote on Nov. 15.

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