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#1374130 - 11/21/12 12:41 PM T'burg, Covert Sue NY Department of Health
newsman38 Offline
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Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 4219
Loc: Fourth Estate
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 northreporter@flcn.org @FLCNreporter |

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#1384211 - 01/23/13 01:41 PM Re: T'burg, Covert Sue NY Department of Health [Re: newsman38]
newsman38 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 4219
Loc: Fourth Estate
Judge Sides with T-burg, Covert on EMS

A Seneca County Supreme Court judge has sided with the town of Covert and Village of Trumansburg in an appeal brought against the state Department of Health over ambulance service for the village of Interlaken.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Dennis Bender ruled recently that the state Department of Health, which issues ambulance service certificates to municipalities, had overstepped its authority and that of the state Comptroller by requiring both the town of Covert and the incorporated village of Interlaken to file separate certificates.

With its ruling, the court ordered the state Department of Health to issue Covert an amended ambulance certificate that includes the village of Interlaken.

Last year, Covert signed on with Trumansburg Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for ambulance coverage and applied for and received the necessary certificate of need from the state’s Department of Health. However, the certificate of need did not include the village of Interlaken, which is located within town limits. Citing its policy, DOH required the village to file a separate application.

Brad Pinsky, an EMS lawyer representing Trumansburg, filed an Article 78 proceeding, challenging the Department of Health’s policy as having the “force of law” in exempting an incorporated village from a town’s ambulance certificate. He cited General Municipal Law 122-b, which states that any county, city, town or village – acting individually or jointly – can apply to the state to provide ambulance services.

“The State’s position that both municipalities, the Town and Village, have to submit applications, lacks merit,” the ruling says. “[W]hen the encompassing entity applies to provide services throughout its borders, when the encompassed entity does not object to the application to provide the services within its borders, there is nothing that justifies the State’s position that joint or separate applications must be submitted.”

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:00 am
By Louis DiPietro

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