Legislators implore Governor Hochul to change a key medical transport law
By Andrew Harris, photo from Wellsville Volunteer Ambulance Corp
It isn’t news that first responders, particularly ambulance/fire/rescue operations are facing an existential crisis, actually multiple crisis. The first is a lack of volunteerism: Almost every small town/county ambulance service or fire company suffers a lack of new recruits. Allegany County legislators addressed another big issue for medical transports operations today by demanding a change in state law.
To best explain this, we went to the current chairman of the county Public Safety Committee, Steve Havey from District 4:
“Small volunteer EMS squads are now able to bill for services if they want to. Some agencies in our county are local, small and proud of it. They do not want to get involved with billing, relying only on fundraising and donations. The current law states that when a transfer from a Basic Lifesaving Service (most small teams) to an Advanced Lifesaving Service to complete the trip to the hospital, the ALS service MUST bill the BLS team the intercept charge. Usually, several hundred dollars. The small agencies can’t afford this, forcing them to charge the patient or absorb the intercept cost. The law forbids the ALS team from billing the patient’s insurance for this charge. We just want the ALS agency to be able to bill the patient’s insurance.”
The idea is to relieve basic lifesaving services(BLS) from the burden of billing patients who are transferred to an advanced unit(ALS,) who already are billing for service and have that capacity.
This resolution has already been moved through the Public Safety Committee and was passed by the full board during the August 24 meeting. A copy of that resolution has been delivered to the Governor, Majority Leader, and all local state officials.
Read that full resolution below: