Fire departments that also provide emergency medical services are seeking some financial relief from the New York State Legislature.
Many of the departments are smaller volunteer organizations that operate ambulances alongside firetrucks. While the number of fire calls has decreased in communities, the number of EMS calls requiring ambulances has increased.
Under state law, fire department EMS costs aren't allowed to be reimbursed from a patient's existing health care policies. However, other ambulance services are permitted to do so.
Legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Betty Little, of Glens Falls, and Democratic Assemblyman Billy Jones, of Plattsburgh, would put local fire departments with EMS services on par with other ambulance providers.
The measure has backing from three statewide firefighting organizations and the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials.