N.Y. Council OKs Fire Department as Primary Ambulance Service

The decision came after a five-hour meeting


 
 

LEE COLEMAN; Gazette Reporter | | Thursday, January 19, 2012


The City Council has voted in favor of the city Fire Department becoming the city's primary ambulance service, replacing a non-profit service that is running out of money.

The decision came late Tuesday night after a five-hour City Council meeting that featured a two-hour workshop, during which members of the public spoke for and against allowing the Fire Department to get into the ambulance business. Mayor Scott Johnson cast the only vote against the measure, which will have the city Fire Department take over ambulance duties from Saratoga Emergency Medical Services.

"I can't support this, it's premature," Johnson said prior to the 11:20 p.m. vote. He said there are too many unanswered questions.
The mayor said he wanted to review the full, 50-page copy of an outside study done in 2007 that said an additional 10 firefighters would have to be hired if the Fire Department started making ambulance runs. He has only seen bits of it.

The council action directs the mayor to write a letter to the state Department of Health seeking a certificate authorizing the department to provide advance life support ambulance service to the city.

Fire Chief Robert Williams said financial projections indicate that the Fire Department would see new revenue -- somewhere between $300,000 and $700,000 -- if it provides ambulance transport.

The 55-member department currently has 45 paramedics or emergency medical technicians on staff and provides advanced life support services and other emergency medical services when it answers calls. The only thing firefighters can't currently provide is transport to the hospital, the one element that is reimbursed by insurance companies.

Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, who strongly supports the department in its wish to become primary ambulance provider, said the city's temporary certificate of need would be good for only two years. He said if the projected financial benefits don't become a reality in that time, the city can end the program.

Williams' proposal is to add one additional firefighter and place into service a 2005 ambulance the department already has. A private or non-profit ambulance service would be hired to respond when additional ambulances are needed.

Accounts Commissioner John Franck questioned the revenue projections and other issues. But he was convinced to vote in favor of the measure because of a "sunset clause" that says the City Council will evaluate the program in 18 months and decide whether to continue it.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, New York, ambulance

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New Technology Helps Missouri Ambulances

Strategic GPS tracking helps in Springfield.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Profile: Hospital Wing Air Ambulance

Take a look inside this Memphis service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Monitors for Wyoming EMS

Grant helps Torrington EMS get new equipment.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

London Medics Increasingly Attacked

One medic describes her violent confrontation.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Violence, Arson in Ferguson

Crowds in Ferguson and elsewhere react to decision.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

California Bus Rollover

One killed and dozens injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Buffalo Residents Dig Out and Prepare for Flooding

Flooding expected as heavy snow melts.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >