Rotterdam ambulance decision nearing

REMS and Mohawk explain bids to Town Board

Rotterdam's ambulance service provider could be decided in the coming weeks after the Town Board got answers to questions it had on the competing companies' bids.

The long-awaited decision for the Rotterdam Town Board to choose between Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services and Mohawk Ambulance Service took another step forward on Monday, May 2, as both agencies gave presentations during a special meeting. While not much has changed from past proposals, REMS added free billing services and said it would give all advanced life support (ALS) revenue to the town.

Supervisor Frank Del Gallo said at the end of the meeting that the board will discuss when the vote will be set for the decision, but no clear date was given.

Councilwoman Nicola DiLeva questioned how REMS has been surviving without tax support.

Where we're giving you $120,000 a year and then we went out for a tax and it did not pass and the gas was taken away and I was told several times prior to the vote that if that did not pass, [REMS] would not be able to survive, said DiLeva. "How are you surviving? This is the question that everybody in town wants to know."

Peter Brodie, consultant for REMS, said the company has "taken a step back" to evaluate how it does business. Two new ambulances REMS purchased after being awarded a federal grant helped reduce the replacement expenses, which had been a strong argument for the tax district.

The biggest change to REMS, though, is a more aggressive billing procedure.

"If a town resident whose taxes contributed to operation before wasn't able to pay or didn't possibly pay, then we didn't hard bill them and we didn't aggressively pursue their payment, because their taxes helped pay for the service," said Brodie. "Now we are hard billing and if a patient doesn't pay for their bill, they do go to collection."

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