Angelino, Lupardo Support ‘Call to Action’ Legislation

Assemblyman Joseph Angelino (R,C-Norwich) and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo held a press conference with regional Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers in a call to action at the Broome County Emergency Services Office in Dickinson. Also present were Norwich Fire Chief Jan Papelino and Chenango County Emergencies Services Director/Fire Coordinator Matthew Beckwith.

The group urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign the Direct Pay Bill into law to support EMS providers. This was one of many press conferences held across the state on this topic.

The Direct Pay Bill (A.250/S.1466) would require insurance companies to send payment for services directly to the ambulance provider. In many cases, the payment for EMS services is sent to the insured person and never makes it beyond that point. Thousands of dollars in revenue are being lost by ambulance service agencies. The Direct Pay Bill passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously last spring. It is currently awaiting the governor’s signature.

Angelino said, “It’s a fact that rural EMS providers are in crisis. Emergency medical providers are facing a financial nightmare, and that is a travesty. It is abundantly clear the current system is broken, and the Legislature provided a unanimous solution. Our local EMS services are essential to our communities and need to be protected. For these reasons, I am proud to support the Direct Pay legislation to make sure EMS providers are properly compensated.”

Lupardo said, “After learning about the significant challenges facing Emergency Medical Services, especially in Upstate New York, we got behind this piece of common-sense legislation. While it is one piece of a larger set of issues, it will go a long way to help stabilize the finances of these vitally important organizations. I hope the governor agrees that reliable ambulance service is too important to risk and will sign this legislation as soon as possible.”

“If we could get direct payments, that would go a long way. We are not trying to make money, but it would be nice to break even,” Said Chief Jan Papelino of the City of Norwich Fire Department.

The Direct Pay bill, which unanimously passed both houses of the Legislature in June, aims to change the way EMS providers are paid. They would be able to bill insurers directly and receive payment directly. This would guarantee providers receive the critical resources required to do their jobs safely and effectively and ensure ambulances are available when needed. It is surmised the governor’s reluctance to sign the bill is due to opposition from insurance companies who don’t want to pay out-of-network agency fees that have not been negotiated.