Ambulance operators plan rally in Albany over state budget concerns

Local News

Ambulance companies are warning that proposed cuts in the state budget could have dire effects on their services and in some cases, put smaller ambulance companies out of business.

New York’s Ambulance Network said the cuts have to do with reimbursement funds they receive for transporting patients who receive state assistance, like Medicare and Medicaid.

Companies like AMR and NAVAC, receive 80 percent of the transport cost from Medicare and 20 percent from Medicaid, but the proposed budget cut would eliminate the Medicaid reimbursement, worsening the industry’s already tough financial situation.

New York’s Ambulance Network claims that every time an operator transports a Medicare or Medicaid patient, they lose money and the losses total $31,000,000 a year statewide.

But, with Governor Cuomo looking to balance the budget, operators like AMR and NAVAC said that deficit could grow even larger.

“Most ambulance companies operate at a pretty low margin, so it costs us a lot to put the ambulances out in our garages and roll them out on the roads, so if we lose that extra money it could be a change for us,” said AMR Operations Supervisor, Nick Corbishley.

AMR, a “for-profit” ambulance company, said the cuts would not affect medical services but could involve conversations with insurers and a decrease in community investment.

The same can not be said for NAVAC.

“It probably wouldn’t put us out of business but there are other smaller agencies that very well may and then we’ve got to make up the difference. those ambulances aren’t going to be available like they are now,” said NAVAC Director of Operations, Evan Grenier.

Grenier added if the budget cuts go through, NAVAC would have to make up around $80,000 to $100,000.

“It could impact our ability to buy ambulance and equipment. currently, we staff four ambulances every day on the road we may have to cut that down if we lose that kind of money,” said Grenier.

In response to the proposed cuts, New York’s Ambulance Network has planned a rally in Albany on Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. at the Albany Convention Center. Several Central New York operators plan to attend.

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