Dr. Michael Dailey, regional director of Emergency Medical Services, met with the media earlier today (August 12) in the Village of Colonie to answer questions regarding the EMS LifeGuard Air Rescue Program and to discuss why it should not be terminated.
His remarks come less than two days shy of a public hearing being held by the Town of Colonie on Thursday, August 14 at 7:05 p.m. regarding the termination program.
According to Dailey, the program is essential to the EMS department as a whole, as he said that he fears if it is cut, the department will begin to lose revenue as a whole, and in turn, jobs could be lost, specifically in the Special Operations Unit.
Addressing the public in weeks past, Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan specifically said her decision to end the program is \not personal and that she never said jobs would be cut.
The supervisor has criticized the program for several things, which she said, lead to her decision to not renew its contract, which will end September 1, 2008. Of those things, the costs to maintain the program were among her concerns.
But according to Dailey, the program only generated revenue. UPSEU Labor Relations Representative Gary Favro has stood before the supervisor and Town Board, asking the supervisor to share with him the numbers that indicate the program costs more than it brings in. Favro said he still has not seen those numbers.
As far as the numbers on the other end, Favro said the program has generated over $150,000 in revenue for the Town in its 15 years of operation. Each patient that is picked up by the flight medics is billed, as they would be billed with on-the-ground ambulance service. The difference is that the flights, at times, go on missions to rescue outside of Town lines, which, according to Favro, means that the Town is collecting revenue from even those outside borders of the Town.
While the numbers of revenue and costs seem to be heavily debated between the supervisor and EMS department, Dailey is confident that the EMS department's calculations are accurate.
"As I review the numbers, they seem to be legitimate," he said, "But I'm a physician, not an accountant."
For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the August 20 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.