SOMAC Facing Financial Issues

Morgan Giordano

 Southern Madison County Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SO-MAC) is currently struggling to stay afloat financially. On Thursday October 18, SOMAC met with residents of the towns of Lebanon, Earlville and Hamilton, representa-tives from Colgate and the board of Hamilton. The meeting was to discuss the money situation of SOMAC and to brainstorm how to raise funds. According to their website SOMAC is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization formed in June 1986 after the Community, Village and Town of Hamilton were left without ambulance service.

“About five or six years ago SOMAC made the decision to go from being open 10-12 hours a day to being open 24 hours. Colgate students help lower costs of operation because they are volunteers, but we needed to increase pay roll for the new hours of operation,” Chief of Operations Steven Johnson said.

SOMAC has been essential to the local community for years and Colgate has a connection to the organization through student participation.

“The members of SOMAC work very hard, each and every day, 24/7, to provide high-quali-ty emergency care to members of our community. We respond to all medical and traumatic emer-gencies that occur in the area and are able to treat patients during times of extreme need,” SOMAC volunteer junior Gabrielle Guet-ta said. “We are also an asset to the community in that we stand-by at many sporting events to make sure that any sports-related injuries are tended to as soon as possible. We work very hard, enjoy our work and care for the community in the best way that we can.”

Johnson said that SOMAC originally presented the board with a request of $36,000 in order to cover costs and break even. Even so, they would not have a re-serve and a new ambulance could cost over $100,000 if they needed one. Cur-rently, they have two ambulance rigs. Up to this point, SOMAC has used a “third-party payer” system. This “third-party” system relies on the patients’ insurance companies to receive their payments after a patient has been transported to the hos-pital. Now, they are meeting to discuss alternative options to maintain this ser-vice to the Madison County community. One option discussed was raising taxes because it is a service to the community. However, SOMAC understands that that is not an option that will be received pos-itively by residents. Another option that was brought up was donations by Col-gate because affiliates do use SOMAC’s services. A decision was not made at this meeting. They will reconvene at a later unplanned date.

Contact Morgan Giordano at [email protected]