North Adams, Village Ambulance Services Approve Merger
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The boards of North Adams Ambulance Service and Village Ambulance have cleared the way for the two organizations to become one on Jan. 1.
Officials of the two services announced their intention to merger in September. The boards' approval on Nov. 29, an agreement has been signed effective at the start of the new year.
The merger was largely driven by the financial difficulties encountered by Village Ambulance, which serves Williamstown, Hancock and New Ashford. In early 2017 it became apparent that, despite the same volume of calls, Village's revenues were decreasing to the level that threatened its sustainability despite significantly decreasing expenses. The reasons for the decrease in revenue are multiple and have similarly affected many small non-profit ambulance companies throughout the nation.
A group consisting of representatives of Village, the town of Williamstown, Williams College and the Williamstown Fire Department was formed to explore options for maintaining emergency medical services. With the assistance of a consultant, the group looked at three different proposals and determined that merging with NAAS would "result in a strong, financially stable service."
The parent corporation will be North Adams Ambulance Service but the service will be rebranded. There will be no change in the level of service currently provided by either organization. The existing bases in North Adams and in Williamstown will continue in use, fully staffed, with the same number of crews currently housed in each location. Village's non-emergency van transport service will be continued and, it is anticipated, will be made available to more residents in the future.
The new organization will continue as a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation and will not require on-going subsidy from the towns it serves. However, the expenses involved in merging the two services are substantial and the process would not have been successful, said NAAS General Manager John Meaney Jr. and Village President Erwin Steubner, "without the significant financial support of Williams College and the town of Williamstown and we are grateful to them."
Steubner added that this has been a period of uncertainty for Village's management and employees and he commended them for their professionalism and dedication.
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