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Genesee County strikes deal with two ambulance providers to cover all bases

By Joanne Beck
mercy ems ambulance 2015
File photo of a then-new Mercy EMS ambulance in 2015. Parent company Mercy Flight will be contracting with Genesee County in a county effort to provide more "accountable" ambulance services moving forward. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

After taking several months to evaluate Genesee County’s issues and needs in regard to ambulance services for residents, county Manager Matt Landers delivered a solution this week that he believes will do the job.

Landers worked with Emergency Management Services Coordinator Tim Yaeger and county Attorney James Wujcik to establish a formal contract with Le Roy Ambulance Services and Mercy Flight, Landers told legislators during the Ways and Means meeting Wednesday.

“We’ve spent about a year reviewing this issue of shoring up and strengthening our local ambulance providers between Mercy Flight and Le Roy Ambulance. We think we have all the bases covered. And this allows us to provide additional funding to those two professional ambulance providers, paid professional ambulance providers  … The one here with Le Roy takes effect Oct. 1. The one for Mercy Flight that we're negotiating with would take effect Jan. 1,” Landers said after the meeting. 

“So it provides additional funds to stabilize, it holds them, it makes them more accountable. They have to meet minimum standards for response times, or they have to meet minimum standards for number of ambulances to keep on staff. So there's minimum requirements that they must comply with in order to keep the funding throughout the county.”

Back in February, Landers confirmed that he and others had been asked by legislators to work on this issue and also clarified that, contrary to popular belief, the county did not have any formal contract for ambulance services. 

The issue of ambulance services and response times had come up during budget talks by City Council members, and The Batavian asked Landers for his input at the time. His concern was primarily on response times in the rural areas of the county, which provides “a minimum contract of $12,500 on an annual basis to go towards their Mercy Flight air,” and nothing official or directly for ambulance service.

The county Legislature is set to give the final vote next week on the resolution to pay Le Roy Ambulance Service $77,220 for ambulance and emergency advanced life support/paramedic service needs, $5,000 for related financial documents, and $187,705 for equipment and related maintenance for a three-year term beginning Oct. 1. 

The contract stipulates that Le Roy will provide pre-hospital emergency medical services within its Certificate of Need operating authority or when mutual aid has been requested by a municipality located within the county.

The total cost of $212,005 is to be offset by county sales tax proceeds.

“So Le Roy would be within the boundaries of Le Roy, and Mercy Flight will be throughout the whole county,” Landers said. “And that one we’re still finalizing, but they should come before this Legislature in October. 

“So I have many counterparts in the state that have actually had to invest in buying ambulances and having a county-run ambulance system with county EMTs,” he said. “We already have paid professional providers in our community that are doing an excellent job. This ensures their longer-term viability, their longer-term success and ensures the county doesn't have to enter into the business itself.”

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