Legislation aimed at helping fire departments provide EMS

January 22, 2018 07:06 PM

ALBANY - An "affordability crisis" is impacting fire departments across New York state.

It is why some lawmakers have partnered with firemen's associations to introduce a bill that would alleviate the fiscal stress.

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The legislation introduced by Senator Betty Little and Assemblymember  Billy Jones would allow fire departments that employ EMS services, to bill and it would come without any added cost to taxpayers.

For a fire department to staff an ambulance, there's a significant investment in personnel, equipment, training, but for a rural, volunteer fire department, the financial investment becomes an even greater financial burden.

The bill would allow fire departments to recover costs associated with an EMS operation by billing untapped funds from health insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare.

"We had a fire department that had an emergency squad in the fire department and it had to leave the department, form a separate corporation -- lawmakers, accountants, audits, all of the things they had to do, separately. And mind you they still have the same group of volunteers," Senator Betty Little said.

"An average EMS run can be from $400 to $1,800 depending on whether it's a basic life support or advance life support and depending on the cost, materials, equipment being used, they're expensive," Jerry DeLuca of the NYS Firemen's Association said.


Karen Tararache

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