BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – A coalition of local politicians are calling on New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul to change how private insurance pays volunteer ambulance services.
Assemblywomen Donna Lupardo, alongside EMS providers and other local politicians, led a “Call To Action” to pressure Hochul to sign a bill that would allow EMS providers to be payed directly by insurers.
The bill, which passed both houses in June, has sat on the Governor’s desk for over four months.
EMS providers say this bill is necessary as the need for ambulances has grown. In Broome County alone, ambulance calls have gone up from 33,447 in 2018 to 41,042 in 2022 according to Broome County Emergency Services.
Todd Allis of the Vestal Volunteer Emergency Squad says conditions have never been worse in his 24 year career.
“Five years ago, we were operating in the black,” Allis said. “Now we’re operating in the red. Our deficit is ranging to $300 to $400 thousand a year right now. Our district, we receive no tax funding. We rely solely on billing, and without this additional revenue through direct billing we struggle every single day.”
Allis says Vestal’s ambulance services are at risk of shutting down should Hochul not provide support.
Lupardo’s call to action was one of six that occurred across upstate New York, with other “Call To Action” events being planned in the future. The officials demand Hochul turns the bill into law as soon as possible.