New York bill would classify EMS as ‘essential services’

By Leila Merrill

PORT CHESTER, NY — Two Westchester County Democrats are asking New York state lawmakers to pass their bill that would classify EMS as “essential services.” Mid Hudson News reported Thursday.

The measure aims to address the shortage of EMS workers and would give providers access to health and pension benefits. In rural areas, entire EMS teams have closed.

State Senator Shelley Mayer said he is

State Senator Shelley Mayer said it’s “outrageous” that emergency medical service responders “can be denied health benefits when we turn to them to deal with our own medical emergencies.” (Photo/Office of New York State Senator Shelley Mayer)

If the bill passes, city governments would have to provide emergency medical services and a minimum standard of care would be established, lawmakers said, according to Spectrum Local News.

State Sen. Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Steve Otis said making the benefits available would help EMS agencies recruit and retain staff.

Mayer said it’s “scandalous” that responders “can be denied health benefits when we turn to them to deal with our own medical emergencies.”

Michelle J. Kelley