Slew of NY County’s EMS Agencies Downgraded

Slew of NY County’s EMS Agencies Downgraded

The Long Island village of Rockville Centre is among 19 agencies in Nassau County to have its emergency medical services certification downgraded.

According to the Long Island Herald, the 19 agencies were downgraded from advanced life support (ALS) to basic life support (BLS) earlier this month because of a regulation enacted in 2016.

The rule, which allowed for a compliance grace period, mandated that narcotics be on hand in all ALS ambulances complete with the required special equipment and licensing.

There are a list of procedures that require ALS certification, including intubation and administering medications via injection.

Rockville Centre was unique among the large group of agencies in that it will still be able to offer ALS care. The village began a partnership in 2008 – the first of its kind on Long Island – with Northwell Health which stipulates that when a resident calls 911, an ambulance from Northwell and one from the fire department are dispatched.

The other 18 agencies to receive the downgrade do not boast the same luxury.

The new regulation was heavily criticized by volunteer fire departments at the time it was enacted, according to Joel Bearman, a director in the State Fire District Association.

“They did it anyway,” Bearman told the Herald.

In addition to the controlled-substance licensing, Bearman says that the rule forces volunteer departments to pay up to $8,000 per ambulance for temperature-controlled lock boxes, in addition to the cost of the medication.