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As EMS calls rise, questions mount

OBSERVER Photos by Braden Carmen Brocton Mayor Craig Miller wants a response from Chautauqua County on how to address the rising total of EMS bills in the village.

A month ago, Silver Creek Mayor Jeff Hornburg highlighted how busy the Fire Department was in the month of July. Things apparently haven’t changed much since then.

“We’ve all heard the whistle. It’s been a very busy month,” said Hornburg at a recent Village Board of Trustees meeting.

There were 53 total calls to the Silver Creek Fire Department in the month of August, including 43 Emergency Medical Services calls. The 53 total calls equal the number of calls from the previous month, though the EMS calls are up nine calls from the 34 in the month before. Hornburg stated last month that 53 calls are notably high for the village.

“I’d like to tip my hat to those gentlemen and ladies for all they are doing,” said Hornburg of the fire department and first responders. Hornburg also noted there were recently nine calls in just one day.

Silver Creek is not alone, however, as Brocton also noted at a recent Village Board meeting that EMS calls are higher than usual. The village of Brocton had 29 EMS calls in the month of August and 45 emergency calls overall. “It was a busy month,” said Brocton Mayor Craig Miller.

OBSERVER Photos by Braden Carmen Silver Creek Mayor Jeff Hornburg recently shared that 53 emergency calls were placed to the Silver Creek Fire Department in the month of August. That number equals the total for the month of July.

The village of Silver Creek has two ambulances of its own and its own EMT. Silver Creek bills directly through Professional Ambulance Billing (PAB) for its own services and only relies on the county for assistance if Silver Creek cannot handle the call on its own.

The village of Silver Creek also covers surrounding areas, such as Hanover, when an emergency call is made.

The village of Brocton, however, does not bill for its emergency calls, according to Miller. Brocton has, however, been billed by Alstar EMS for emergency services since the EMS Recovery Act that was enacted by New York state in July. That law required the village to have an emergency services contract with Chautauqua County.

The uncertainty surrounding how that contract works in relation to the billing process is what the Village of Brocton is seeking guidance on. “We’ve had no guidance from the county at all. None,” said Miller.

Brocton is sitting on the bills until guidance from the county is provided.

“We did our part,” said Brocton Village Attorney Peter Clark.

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