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New certification allows N.Y. EMS to increase ALS delivery

Officials stated Headwaters Emergency Medical Services has met the goal of having at least one ALS rig in service 24/7


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The Daily Star, Oneonta

STAMFORD, N.Y. — Thirteen months after initiating a not-for-profit ambulance service for the towns of Harpersfield, Kortright and Stamford, Headwaters Emergency Medical Services has reached another key milestone, receiving its Certificate of Need from the state Department of Health.

According to a news release, HEMS had previously been operating through CONs for each of its three member towns, which is how it was able to begin operations in April 2023.

The CON also allowed the service to obtain a narcotics license in order to operate as an Advanced Life Support agency.

HEMS began operating as an ALS agency in June. “The intent was to provide one ALS rig 24/7 and they have reached that goal,” the release stated. Applications for additional paramedics are being received and applications are being accepted for those who may wish to apply. Interested applicants can apply through the Headwaters EMS website at

Ray Baker, director of operations for HEMS, is credited with working with the state to meet all of the necessary certifications for its ALS provider status.

The new ambulance service was established through a coordinated effort by the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation and the towns of Kortright, Stamford and Harpersfield.

“I am extremely proud of what Headwaters EMS has accomplished and how far it has come,” said DonVanEtten, president of the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation’s board of directors. The board gave him the task of establishing an ambulance service at its annual meeting in May of 2021.

Robinson-Broadhurst provided the “seed” money to establish the service and its initial operating costs, the release stated. The three towns began contributing this year and individuals and insurance companies will be billed for transport. “The best case scenario is that ambulance services will become self-sustaining at some point,” according to the release. Meg Hungerford, one of the board members, said services are being billed, which is expected to be the primary source of revenue, supplemented by the three towns.

“I want to thank the three towns for coming together on this,” VanEtten said. “It was absolutely needed. As chief of the Stamford Fire Department, we saw a need ahead of the others.”

The number of volunteers continues to shrink and providing the service has already saved lives, VanEtten said.

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