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Sunday, August 14, 2022
Home Government City of Rye Local Pols Push to Make EMS an "Essential Service"

Local Pols Push to Make EMS an “Essential Service”

(PHOTO: Standing in front of Port Chester - Rye - Rye Brook EMS Rye City Manager Greg Usry, Rye City Councilman Bill Henderson, State Assemblyman Steve Otis, State Senator Shelley Mayer, Port Chester Village Manager Stuart Rabin, Rye Brook Trustee Stephanie Fischer, Rye Brook Village Administrator Chris Bradbury, County Department of Emergency Services Commissioner Richard Wishnie, PC-Rye-Rye Brook EMS Administrator Kenny Barton.)
(PHOTO: Standing in front of Port Chester – Rye – Rye Brook EMS Rye City Manager Greg Usry, Rye City Councilman Bill Henderson, State Assemblyman Steve Otis, State Senator Shelley Mayer, Port Chester Village Manager Stuart Rabin, Rye Brook Trustee Stephanie Fischer, Rye Brook Village Administrator Chris Bradbury, County Department of Emergency Services Commissioner Richard Wishnie, PC-Rye-Rye Brook EMS Administrator Kenny Barton.)

Sounds essential to most of us.

Our local emergency medical services Port Chester – Rye – Rye Brook EMS – like others in the State – is not formally recognized as an essential service.

On Wednesday, State Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblyman Steve Otis called on state lawmakers to pass their legislation (S.8432/A.9509) to classify “Emergency Medical Services” as “Essential Services” under the law and to combat the shortage of EMS personnel by ensuring they have access to health and pension benefits.

“The proposed legislation will bring about the most substantive changes to EMS in the state seen in decades,” said Port Chester – Rye – Rye Brook EMS Administrator Kenny Barton. “It will greatly benefit the providers of this invaluable and essential service and in turn, the communities they care for.”

“Throughout NY (and across the Country) there are critical staffing shortages,” Rye City Manager Greg Usry told MyRye.com. “Much of this pre-dates COVID but it has been significantly exacerbated by the pandemic. This legislation creates the critical State employee framework to treat these professionals as the critical first line, health care responders that they are. It sets an obligation for each municipality to assure there is EMS service in the community and provides minimum standards. This is an urgent need.”

Port Chester – Rye – Rye Brook EMS is a not-for-profit. The three communities have a service contract with the EMS and work collaboratively on its operations.

By establishing EMS as an essential service, municipalities would be required to provide it to their residents in a reliable manner as a matter of NYS policy. It would also create a minimum standard of care through regional and state EMS councils to guarantee all New Yorkers are receiving quality care.

Additionally, this legislation would encourage people to serve as emergency medical personnel by securing access to the New York State Pension System and the State Health Insurance program where possible.

“For years, our voluntary and other emergency medical service providers have been left to survive without acknowledging that they are truly ‘essential’ to our society,” said State Senator Shelley Mayer. “In addition, it is outrageous that our first responders can be denied health benefits when we turn to them to address our own medical emergencies. I am proud to fight to deliver the benefits they deserve and to provide every New Yorker with quality emergency medical care.”

“There is a staffing crisis in EMT services around the state,” said State Assemblyman Steve Otis. “We must give EMT services the tools they need to attract and retain the personnel they require. This legislation will be an important step.”

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