NY bill would allow volunteer firefighters to recover ambulance costs

The bill would give volunteer fire departments the ability to make up the extensive costs of ambulance services by billing insurance companies

By FireRescue1 Staff

ALBANY, N.Y. — A state bill would give volunteer fire departments the right to bill insurance companies for ambulance services, allowing them to recover the extensive cost.

The Buffalo News reported that volunteer firefighters are advocating for the bill that would allow them to recover ambulance service costs from both insurers and Medicare or Medicaid.

"New York is the only state in the country where volunteer fire companies can't bill," Firemen’s Association of the State of New York chairman Robin Schott said. "With the increase of the calls that we're having on EMS, it's a drain on the manpower.”

Schott added that billing for the services, which he said make up about 90 percent of a volunteer fire department’s calls, would mean that “they could actually pay someone to man it during the day hours."

He also said some departments are “facing an affordability crisis.”

“Providing emergency medical services is a core mission for many departments but requires a significant investment in time, training, equipment and personnel," Schott said.

Assemblyman David DiPietro urged firefighters to support the bill by reaching out to their legislators to make sure that it does not get stuck in committee.

"Don't just write them, call them. Tell them you want it out before June," DiPietro said. "A lot of times with some of these bills, they just won't push them because they don't hear from enough people, so they don't think it's that important."

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