In order to preserve rural communities’ access to emergency medical services, New York State government must act now. Due to inadequate reimbursement from Medicaid causing strained budgets, minimal provided incentive for volunteers, and lack of utilization of EMS capabilities, rural ambulance agencies are at risk of closing down or consolidating with other agencies. Fewer ambulance agencies will only increase response and wait time for emergency medical situations, putting rural New Yorkers at an even higher risk of serious medical complications. To amend this crisis, New York State can increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for EMS, increase incentive for volunteerism by providing SUNY scholarships for volunteers and/or their children, and initiate community paramedicine programs in rural communities to ensure access to quality emergency healthcare.
Read the paper: Upstate Institute Policy Paper