Chautauqua County Fire Departments with ambulances that do not charge insurance or have an agreement with the county for billing will be tentatively charged $250 per call Advanced Life Support which involves mutual aid from medical services from county emergency.
The deal is expected to be approved later this month.
Earlier this year, Noel Guttman, director of Chautauqua County Emergency Medical Services, shared that there had been a change in state law regarding billing for emergency medical services.
The new legislation stipulates that an ambulance service which does not issue a bill for its services and which requests an ALS interception must pay the ambulance service providing the ALS interception.
The legislation came into force on July 8. The county has chosen to wait until now because it has the ability to bill for up to 90 days. That gave the county until Oct. 6 before it had to start billing fire departments for SLA assistance calls.
At Thursday’s audit and oversight committee meeting, Guttman announced the $250 fee. He said the rate was calculated with the help of members of the Fire Advisory Council, the EMS Council and the Association of Fire Chiefs.
There are 42 fire departments in the county, 35 of which have ambulance services. Guttman said he thought “only one or two” will be charged this rate of $250. Most of them have already decided to become a billing entity or have the county handle their billing.
He added that some are still making up their minds, but there are one or two who have said they want to take a “wait and watch” position to see how things are going.
Guttman did not identify which departments it was.
Lawmaker Tom Harmon, R-Silver Creek, asked Guttman if he thought $250 was enough, which Guttman said yes, especially since he thinks it will be very rare that they have to charge a fire department.
Lawmaker Dan Pavlock, R-Sinclairville, noted that fire departments have struggled financially over the years and asked Guttman if those who bill themselves or through the county will be helped with this new fire department law. ‘State.
“That was the intention of the law when it was passed, it was to give departments the ability to recover costs. … I think that’s the intention and I hope that’s how it works,” Gutman replied
Guttman added that New York was the latest state in the country to pass this type of legislation. “I think it’s a proven record across the country that fire departments have the ability to be profitable through insurance to recover their costs,” he said.
The full legislature will vote on Wednesday to finalize the $250 rate.