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‘The system is in failure’: local legislators want EMS to be an essential service

todayFebruary 21, 2024 3

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some members of the Monroe County Legislature are supporting a proposal to make Emergency Medical Services (EMS) essential. That comes with stipulations, they say, which would help incentivize and retain EMS workers.

County Legislator for District Nine, Paul Dondorfer, says making EMS an essential service would ensure that County residents receive timely care. Ambulances cover calls from across the county which, he argues, is significantly increasing wait times. This means that critical and sometimes life-saving care can be delayed.

“If you send a Penfield ambulance into Brockport the response time is 40 plus minutes,” said Dondorfer, “and that’s going lights and sirens so that care is being delayed.”

EMS workers would also get better benefits— supporters argue this will encourage more people to become EMTs and paramedics and help keep existing employees.

“Taking that ambulance out of the district that it’s supposed to be covering because the other districts are tied up or don’t have the manpower to staff their ambulances anymore,” said Dondorfer.

On Saturday, the city released the Fitch report— a years-long look at how to improve EMS in Rochester. The study, commissioned in 2021, offered alternative EMS models such as the fire department taking on a bigger role. The recommendations, however, won’t be cheap.

“looking at how we can use our existing resources within the fire department to scale those things up,” said Mayor Malik Evans. “Now, that’s going to take some time, it’s going to take some resources, but at least it gives us a roadmap of how we need to move forward.”

Both Dondorfer and District Six Legislator Sean McCabe say there are not enough EMS volunteers, which is why they propose increasing the volunteer tax credit. They propose increasing the volunteer tax credit from $200 to $800 for individuals, and from $400 to $1,600 dollars for married joint filers.

“Both in EMS and fire the volunteer numbers with the training requirements and the time commitments,” said McCabe, “it’s not as practical as when I was younger to be a volunteer.”

These lawmakers say this is not the ultimate solution but a good starting point.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some members of the Monroe County Legislature are supporting a proposal to make Emergency Medical Services (EMS) essential. That comes with stipulations, they say, which would help incentivize and retain EMS workers.

County Legislator for District Nine, Paul Dondorfer, says making EMS an essential service would ensure that County residents receive timely care. Ambulances cover calls from across the county which, he argues, is significantly increasing wait times. This means that critical and sometimes life-saving care can be delayed.

“If you send a Penfield ambulance into Brockport the response time is 40 plus minutes,” said Dondorfer, “and that’s going lights and sirens so that care is being delayed.”

EMS workers would also get better benefits— supporters argue this will encourage more people to become EMTs and paramedics and help keep existing employees.

“Taking that ambulance out of the district that it’s supposed to be covering because the other districts are tied up or don’t have the manpower to staff their ambulances anymore,” said Dondorfer.

On Saturday, the city released the Fitch report— a years-long look at how to improve EMS in Rochester. The study, commissioned in 2021, offered alternative EMS models such as the fire department taking on a bigger role. The recommendations, however, won’t be cheap.

“looking at how we can use our existing resources within the fire department to scale those things up,” said Mayor Malik Evans. “Now, that’s going to take some time, it’s going to take some resources, but at least it gives us a roadmap of how we need to move forward.”

Both Dondorfer and District Six Legislator Sean McCabe say there are not enough EMS volunteers, which is why they propose increasing the volunteer tax credit. They propose increasing the volunteer tax credit from $200 to $800 for individuals, and from $400 to $1,600 dollars for married joint filers.

“Both in EMS and fire the volunteer numbers with the training requirements and the time commitments,” said McCabe, “it’s not as practical as when I was younger to be a volunteer.”

These lawmakers say this is not the ultimate solution but a good starting point. Read More NewsRochesterFirst  

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