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N.Y. legislators introduce several bills to support EMS

Six bills focused on helping EMS in the state include proposals on tax funding, reimbursement and a tax credit for volunteers


The New York State Capitol in Albany.

Matt H. Wade/Wikipedia

By Robert Harding
The Citizen

ALBANY, N.Y. — With emergency medical services providers facing challenges across New York, state lawmakers are proposing a legislative package they say would “rescue” these agencies.

The six bills include legislation proposed by state Sen. Rachel May and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo to exempt EMS from the property tax cap. The sponsors say this would help municipalities support EMS and provide short-term relief.

The other bills include a measure sponsored by state Sen. Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Steven Otis to recognize EMS as an essential service and allow for the creation of taxing districts, similar to how fire districts can be established to fund local fire departments.

State Sen. Michelle Hinchey and Assemblywoman Anna Kelles are seeking a change to the Medicaid fee schedule for ambulance services, which would ensure EMS agencies are reimbursed for providing care. State Sen. John Mannion and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett want to allow volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel to claim state income and local property tax credits.

The legislators worked with the New York State Association of Counties to draft legislation and address a problem facing many communities across the state.


EMS providers face increasing costs and other hurdles, including staffing woes. In Cayuga County, one EMS provider — AMR — pulled out due to equipment costs and reimbursement rates.

May, D- Syracuse, said she recently held office hours in Auburn. Half of the constituents who met with her were there to discuss EMS.

“This is an issue on everybody’s mind,” she said. “We assume that it’s essential, but we have to make sure that the state recognizes it’s essential.”

The legislative push is backed by other organizations, including the Firefighters Association of the State of New York. John D’Alessandro, the group’s secretary, told reporters at a news conference in Albany that “we are in a fire and EMS response crisis in the state of New York " due to the personnel and finance issues plaguing these agencies.

D’Alessandro is hopeful that legislators will address the problems to ease the stress placed on EMS and fire departments.

“We should not be spending an inordinate amount of our energy trying to figure out how to be financially viable or our efforts to make sure that there is enough first responders,” he said. “That takes away from our mission.”

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