Fire departments push for bill allowing EMS fees

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

The number of emergency medical services calls has been rising across the state, and local fire departments say they're having trouble keeping up with the costs — so they want to bill patients and their insurers.

"It's getting very difficult," says West Babylon Fire Commissioner Daniel McCarthy. "Our call volume is record numbers -- 3,729 calls last year. Eighty percent are EMS."

State law says that fire department ambulances can only receive funding from fire district tax revenue. It is designed so only private EMS services or police ambulances can bill insurance companies or patients directly.

Firefighters, fire service leaders and some elected officials have been calling on lawmakers in Albany to pass a law that would allow departments to charge fees for EMS services. Supporters say it would improve service and response times.

Some critics fear it would be an added burden for people facing emergencies.

Others, like the United New York Ambulance Network, which represents private ambulance companies upstate, say the bill would harm EMS response in rural areas.

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Just Married on Long Island

    Just Married on Long Island

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

  • Dog Day Fridays for September 21

    Dog Day Fridays for September 21

    Friday, September 21 2018 7:55 AM EDT2018-09-21 11:55:31 GMT
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or jakesrescueranch@gmail.com.This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or jakesrescueranch@gmail.com.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or jakesrescueranch@gmail.com.This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or jakesrescueranch@gmail.com.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or jakesrescueranch@gmail.com.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Jake's Rescue Ranch. The shelter can be contacted via their website or jakesrescueranch@gmail.com.

  • Guide: Long Island Breweries

    Guide: Long Island Breweries

    Brewery GuideBrewery Guide

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the island for beer-lovers to visit.

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the island for beer-lovers to visit.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."