In the last few years, the price of providing emergency services has skyrocketed.
According to a FOIL request letter obtained by the Islip Bulletin in February 2019, Town of Islip supervisor Angie Carpenter and Town of Islip comptroller Joseph Ludwig held a meeting that “indicated that the increase in costs of providing emergency medical service by the five EMS agencies in the Town of Islip was exceeding the rate that the town could continue to increase funding.”
In April 2020, Exchange Ambulance Corps of the Islips commenced insurance billing to cover some of the costs the town could no longer provide.
The funds of Exchange Ambulance Corps of the Islips are used to help partially fund medical equipment, medical supplies, and part of the payroll of the few people on staff that supplement the volunteers.
According to Robert Stadelman, vice president of the board of directors at Exchange Ambulance, the group will never send anyone to collections for an inability to pay. Individuals can expect an initial notice and then two follow-up letters regarding their bill. Exchange Ambulance use the third-party billing company Professional Ambulance Billing LLC.
When asked if there has been pushback from residents on the insurance billing, Carpenter said there has been little.
“We are looking to follow Huntington’s example, where the amount of taxes that needed to be raised for ambulance service decreased as a result,” Carpenter said. “If there is insurance in place, private EMS transportation is covered; therefore, taxpayer-funded agencies likewise should be reimbursed.”
Stadelman said that Exchange Ambulance has received a few questions regarding the insurance billing, but for the most part, people understand.
In Suffolk County, EMS may charge for their services but fire departments cannot. Exchange Ambulance of the Islips is considered a Suffolk County Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
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