Many of our readers may not be aware, but for the past year(s) Catskills Hatzalah has been assisting Sullivan County to cover their emergency calls at time when they do not have adequate coverage and they are unable to respond to their 911 calls for medical assistance. Over the last number of years, Mobile Medic Incorporated, a private ambulance company that was founded by and until recently owned by Albee Bockman, President of Mobile Medic Incorporated, has slowly but surely taken over the EMS services for many of the townships in Sullivan County. With promises to provide EMS response at no cost to the townships, many of the towns, including the likes of the Town of Liberty, Monticello, Woodridge and the Town of Fallsburg, have closed down their longstanding volunteer ambulance services and contracted with Mobile Medic for emergency medical services. In return for a guarantee of coverage, in many instances Mobile Medic was allowed to take over the building facilities that have been used by these agencies for decades.
In recent years, Mobile Medic has not been able to adequately provide the service as contracted to Sullivan County. A typical day sees only a handful of ambulances covering the entire county, which geographically is quite large. As a result, a response for a priority emergency can take quite some time until the ambulance arrives at the patient’s side. Often the ambulances respond from either Garnett – Harris or Garnett – Orange to an emergency anywhere in the county, a distance of many miles. This is because of the low availability of resources.
As a result, what used to be a rarity, where Sullivan County will request from Catskills Hatzoloh “mutual aid” to cover their priority calls, has now become commonplace, with requests coming in multiple times a day for coverage. Hatzalah members, with their innate desire to assist others, have never hesitated to assist, even if it meant traveling an extended distance to help someone else in need. Often, when a Mobile Medic unit becomes available, they will then request Catskills Hatzoloh to cancel their response, even if a responder has been enroute for quite some time. Regardless of the additional time for Mobile Medic to arrive, for them a missed call is a source of lost revenue.
Mr. Bockman, himself a long-time paramedic, often responds in a fly car to stabilize a patient until his ambulance arrives at the scene. Over the years, there have been many instances where Mr. Bockman has interfered with Hatzalah’s services, sidelining the Catskills Hatzalah ambulances and responders who were dispatched to the same call, until a Mobile Medic ambulance arrives at the scene to transport the patient. Sources tell YWN that as recently as last week Mr. Bockman, while operating at the scene of a serious car accident on Route 17, allegedly refused to allow Hatzalah to transport a critically ill patient. This was a serious motor vehicle accident with multiple critical patients. At the time Mr. Bockman did not have adequate personnel on the scene to treat all of the patients yet he attempted to have the Hatzalah responders removed from the scene. Multiple witnesses have stated that Mr. Bockman got physical with one of the responders who refused to obey his order to leave the scene. YWN has independently confirmed this event and is in possession of video footage showing Mr. Bockman with his hands on a Hatzalah member at the scene.
Preventing appropriately trained personnel from assisting a patient in need, all in the name of profiting from the care, borders on criminal behavior. Local residents have been expressing support and appreciation for Catskills Hatzalah for their service and support. Why Sullivan County continues to utilize Mobile Medic as their contracted EMS service when they are not fulfilling their obligation has piqued the interest of many.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)