EMT workers want staffing addressed in 2021 budget


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Communities across New York State are facing a shortage of EMT staffing.

“EMS has emerged as a critical component of the healthcare continuum,” Sen. James Seward said.

According to a state report, there’s nine percent less certified EMS providers in the state than 10 years ago.

“There’s less and less people wanting to be in EMS,” Tom Coyle, United New York Ambulance Network Chairman, said. “They use EMS for a stepping stone for nursing, PA, doctor, and we’re definitely seeing a shortage.”

Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a reduction in Medicaid reimbursements for ambulance providers. Although it was never enacted, those who work in the ambulance industry fear it could happen this year.

“Keep reimbursement so that we can afford to pay people what the people should be paid to provide the service, and that’s the biggest issue right now,” Coyle said.

With the Medicaid Redesign Team II now tasked to find $2.5 billion in savings, stakeholders want to be a part of the discussions.

“Will EMS have representation on MRT II?” Seward asked.

“We will make sure that all the stakeholders are there,” New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. “And, as I’ve said, things have changed; the landscape has changed. We will rise to the occasion again and address it as needed.”

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