Coalition Calls for Passage of Legislative Package to Rescue EMS

NYSAC and ambulance providers join legislators to advocate for EMS

Albany, NY – Ahead of EMS Week (May 19-25), a coalition of state Legislators joined New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), NYS Volunteer Ambulance & Rescue Association, Inc. (NYSVARA), and United New York Ambulance Network (UNYAN) to advocate for the passage of a group of bills* aimed at supporting emergency medical services (EMS) throughout the state. 

The legislative package aims to “Rescue EMS” by addressing ambulance wait times, funding shortfalls, barriers to volunteer recruitment, and more. NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently released a report** calling for more state involvement to address the challenges EMS providers face on the local level.

The legislative package includes seven bills to address a variety of the most pressing challenges facing providers across the state, including the allowance of special taxing districts (A3392-B Otis/S4020-C Mayer), authorization of Treatment in Place (A9102 Kelles/S8486 Hinchey), and removing EMS from the real property tax cap (A4077 Lupardo/S5000 May).

“Few things are more terrifying than the thought of calling for an ambulance and being told help might be over an hour away. Unfortunately, that is the reality for far too many New Yorkers. Local EMS systems around the state are being crushed by rising costs, labor shortages, and outdated reimbursement rules,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “Every New Yorker deserves access to fast and reliable EMS service and the Rescue EMS package of reforms not only provides counties with the authority they need to shore up this service, but it also addresses many of the root causes making EMS unsustainable. There simply is no time to wait. Counties, and the New Yorkers we serve, are counting on the State Legislature to pass these reforms and send them to Governor Hochul for her signature.”

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, said, "As my recent report shows, local governments across the state are facing staff shortages and funding issues in their effort to ensure emergency medical services are available. My office encourages the state to bolster its work with local governments to coordinate services, get better data on critical metrics such as ambulance response times and dropped calls, and identify sustainable, effective solutions. I thank the legislators for their leadership on this important issue.”

Steve Kroll, Legislative Chair, NYS Volunteer Ambulance & Rescue Assoc. (NYSVARA) Inc., said, “Volunteer and career EMTs and Paramedics are asking for the right tools to meet the around-the-clock emergency needs of New Yorkers. The ambulance services and EMS agencies that support their ability to respond are facing daunting workforce shortages, escalating costs, and outdated regulations. The bills in the “Rescue EMS” package are needed this year to support our EMS responders and make sure that EMS agencies will be there to respond when called to assist the ill and injured. We urge the Legislature to put “Rescue EMS” on the must do list for this session.”

Jeffrey J. Call, Immediate Past Chair of the United New York Ambulance Network (UNYAN), and General Manager of Guilfoyle Ambulance Service, said “EMS routinely treat patients who don’t need to go to a hospital or refuse transport to a hospital. In either situation, Medicaid will not reimburse EMS for the care provided. This is an antiquated model that is detrimental to patients, ambulance service providers, and the healthcare system as a whole. We urge lawmakers in the final weeks of session to pass legislation that would support better patient care and save both hospital and EMS resources across New York State.”

*NYSAC Recommendations & Fact Sheet: Rescuing Local Emergency Medical Services:

**The Growing Role of Counties in Emergency Medical Services: