CAPITAL REGION (NEWS10) – Over 40 New York counties are considered to be rural, meaning they have a population of 200,000 or less. Yet, the needs of emergency medical services across the state are growing.

The task force was created in January of 2022 and regulated by the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and is comprised of a twelve-member team. 

The newest appointee is Dr. Mariom Terenzio, President at SUNY Cobbleskill.

“I am fortunate enough to learn from my faculty, all of whom are practicing paramedics. I see it up close and personal, their needs, how they train and the impact they have on our rural communities.

The task force will evaluate and provide guidance for managing rural community EMS service needs in an effort to better provide more efficient services to those who may need it most.

“One thing we’re learning early on from the data is there’s a direct correlation between lower staff and higher response times if we can find ways to increase the staff numbers which is not a quick fix, we’re hoping then that would alleviate some of the response times,” said Terenzio.

Ryan Greenberger, Director for the Bureau of EMS and Trauma Systems says the task force has many concerns.

“Hard to staff, low call volume, increasing expenses and possibly low reimbursement from insurance because you don’t have a high call volume. What’s going to fill that void and how do you make that magic work,” said Greenberger.

Yet, a few things stand out when comes to the goals of the team.

“This committee, this taskforce is really going to be looking at things that are going serve almost two thirds of the counties in NY state.  The biggest thing particularly, the rural component that this taskforce is going to have to handle and really look at is the uniqueness of how rural New York State actually is,” said Greenberger.

The taskforce held their first official meeting back in February and will meet every four to six weeks to build the framework that will focus on rural needs throughout the entire state.

“We can give a robust recommendation roster to the legislators that they can then act upon,” said Terenzio.

The task force will meet again in April.