T'burg, Covert Sue NY Department of Health
The lawyer advising the village of Trumansburg on its ambulance service has brought a lawsuit against the state’s Department of Health over a policy that he says is unjust.
Brad Pinsky, a Syracuse lawyer specializing in emergency medical service (EMS) and fire law, is suing the state’s Department of Health over a 2009 policy that prevents a village’s inclusion within a town’s certificate of need for ambulance service.
The town of Covert has signed on with Trumansburg EMS for ambulance coverage and applied for the necessary certificate of need with the state’s Department of Health (DOH). However, the certificate of need does not include the village of Interlaken, located within town limits, preventing Trumansburg EMS from adding another municipal customer to its coverage area.
Pinsky said the policy, underwritten by the EMS bureau of the department of health, has the “force of law” in that it denies power to Covert. Instituting such a policy requires due process and a thorough review, yet that wasn’t the case, he said.
“[The department of health] simply issued a rule without going through any of those procedures,” he said. “We believe the DOH has overstepped their legal boundaries by taking away power of the town to obtain operating authority with villages within towns.
“That forces the village to go into the ambulance business, which is ridiculous.”
The village of Interlaken, which currently receives coverage from South Seneca Ambulance, could file for its own certificate of need, but the process is said to take eight to 10 months. The cost of the lawsuit is pegged at $10,000, with the village of Trumansburg and the town of Covert splitting the fee, according to Covert Town Supervisor Mike Reynolds during a town meeting last month.
Pinsky said he hopes to have a resolution to the lawsuit in the next two months.
Meanwhile, no progress has been made in the ongoing fracas between the town of Ulysses and village of Trumansburg over ambulance service. The Ulysses Town Council has not budged from its stance that it wants some overseeing authority in the village-owned Trumansburg EMS. Without a shared-service agreement, Ulysses won’t contract with the Trumansburg EMS under the village’s payment structure, which bills residents who receive transport from Trumansburg ambulance. The town of Ulysses has further argued that Pinsky and the village of Trumansburg have not been forthcoming with pertinent information relating to EMS.
Pinsky said the notion that the village is hiding something is ridiculous.
“This simply amazes me,” he said. “The village of Trumansburg has given them an explanation to everything. .... I can’t fathom why the town doesn’t accept the answers and explanations that have been given. They do have information. They can have as much as they want. They just don’t seem to be listening to answers, and then they accuse the village of some conspiracy theory.”
Through some legal maneuvering, Ulysses receives ambulance coverage through the village’s fire protection district.
Currently, Trumansburg EMS covers the village of Trumansburg, the town of Covert and part of Hector.Updated: 12:35 pm, Wed Nov 7, 2012.
By Louis DiPietro firstname.lastname@example.org @FLCNreporter |