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Celoron Fire Department to partner with EMS

Submitted Photo Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman speaks during the Public Safety Committee meeting.

The Celoron Fire Department is looking to partner with Chautauqua County to bill emergency medical services.

The Chautauqua County Legislature will vote today on a resolution to authorize an agreement between the county Emergency Medical Services and the Celoron Fire District for advanced life support-basic life support prehospital Service. The resolution already has the backing of the Audit and Control and Public Safety committees.

In February, the county authorized an agreement with the Falconer Fire Department. Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman said this agreement is the same.

At that time, Guttman explained that the Emergency Management Services has a countywide Certificate Of Need authority to operate. Fire departments can partner with the county’s EMS so that a fire department can operate under the county’s Certificate Of Need.

During committee meetings last week, Guttman said other fire departments have expressed an interest in joining as well. He specifically mentioned the Cassadaga Volunteer Fire Department.

NEW LEGISLATION

Even though Celoron is looking to partner with the county EMS, Guttman said fire departments can bill on their own if they choose.

During the passage of the state budget, a change was made that allows fire departments to recover the costs associated with providing emergency medical services ambulance transportation. Previously, New York was the only state in the nation that did not allow this.

“That change in the law now allows a department to bill, so they can become their own billing entity,” Guttman said in a follow up interview. “No one believed it would ever pass.”

Guttman said departments that want to become their own billing entity will need to deal with billing insurances directly, something that has its challenges. “Insurance billing is not an easy topic,” he said.

Guttman expects there will be departments in the county that will want to take care of its own billing. “That is a perfectly legal option and I fully support any department doing that and my office will do whatever we can to help them out,” he said.

Guttman said the county started working with Celoron before the new law was passed, however, even though it’s been enacted, Celoron has not wanted to step away from the partnership with the county.

Guttman said Celoron has not said what they hope to use the money for. Falconer said previously it was going to use the money to eventually purchase a new ambulance.

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