A World Without Paramedics, A Reality for Most Living in Rensselaer County

Many believe that when they dial 911, the right people with all the right equipment will show up in just the right amount of time. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many areas in Rensselaer County.

Where you live should not determine if you live.

Only those towns that have planned ahead and recognize the importance of life safety in their community are prepared for a life threatening emergency.

Actual Emergency Medical Services Coverage in Rensselaer County

In Rensselaer County the towns of Sand Lake, North Greenbush, East Greenbush, Schaghticoke & the City of Troy are the only municipalities that pay for Paramedic level coverage.

Rensselaer County EMS Map July 2015

Click to zoom in, Red units are Paramedic level and blue are BLS (Basic Life Support) ambulances

As you’ll see in the map to the left, the blue ambulance markers indicate where there are BLS (Basic Life Support) EMT level ambulance services. These services depend on a Paramedic to respond from Mohawk or Empire Ambulance out of the city of Albany, Troy or town of Brunswick to respond for high priority, life threatening emergencies. In fact, the city of Rensselaer is now covered by Mohawk Ambulance which routinely responds from their Albany Quail Street station.

If you’re asking yourself, “What is the difference between a Paramedic & an EMT?”, you can read more here (under FAQs).

The red markers on the map indicate where Paramedic level services (ALS) are stationed: North Greenbush Ambulance, Bruen Rescue Squad in East Greenbush, Sand Lake Ambulance, and the Hoosic Valley Rescue Squad in Schaghticoke.

The town of Brunswick does not pay for paramedic ambulance coverage, they have contracted with Mohawk Ambulance which stations one paramedic ambulance in their town. This Mohawk Ambulance stationed in Brunswick, is covering all calls in Brunswick and Poestenkill, and all ALS calls in the towns of Grafton, Petersburgh, Berlin & Pittstown for Advanced Life Support / Paramedic coverage on high priority calls. As you can imagine, that is a very large territory to cover with one paramedic ambulance.

In Southern Rensselaer County it is common for a Mohawk Ambulance paramedic to respond out of the city of Albany and attempt to meet up (“intercept”) with an ambulance, such as Hoags Corners, Nassau, Stephentown or Castleton while they are en route to the hospital.

It is not uncommon for there to be a 35+ minute response time to get a Paramedic to the scene of a call in rural areas of Rensselaer County that do not have Advanced Life Support/Paramedic services. Most rural areas are served by a Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance with an EMT-Basic; they ensure airway, breathing and stop bleeding, and load their patient in an ambulance and try to meet up with an ALS unit. Sometimes this doesn’t happen at all, other times it happens along side of I-90 just minutes from the hospital where little can actually be done before getting to the hospital.

This is not intended to diminish the care provided by Mohawk Ambulance; however, they are a for-profit business and money is not made doing low volume unpredictable emergency calls. It is made by doing scheduled transports between medical facilities or providing ambulance coverage in high volume urban environments.

What Does it Really Cost? A Tax Revenue Analysis.

Below is a cost analysis of towns that invest in the life safety of their communities and understand the importance of paramedic level protection. Based on publicly available tax assessment data.

Sand Lake 2014 $265,700 from town;  $ 236,443 billing recovery 2014
  A $200,000 home would pay $ 65 per year (100% assessment)
North Greenbush 2014 $ 243,992 from town, $ 316,764 billing recovery 2013
  A $200,000 home would pay $40.14 per year (adjusted for 26% assessment)
East Greenbush 2014 $640,163 from town; $435,970 billing recovery 2013
  A $200,000 home would pay $72.39 per year (100% assessment)

These charges are about the least expensive item on a tax roll in all three towns. 

If Ambulances Bill Insurance, Why do they need a subsidy?

Ambulances can bill insurance companies for their services to offset the cost to the tax payers. In fact, people already pay for insurance, so by not billing for services the insurance companies actually keep more money and the towns that subsidize the ambulances would pay twice as much money. Most ambulance services do, in fact, bill as a method of revenue (as seen above “billing recovery”).

Why Paramedics & Ambulance Services Are Important…

Watch this video…

We urge you to educate yourself on all of the facts. If you support ambulance services and Paramedics in your town, contact your elected officials. You deserve prompt access to paramedics and ambulance services.

Where you live should not determine if you live.



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