Scarsdale, NY – New York State Assembly Member Amy Paulin and Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corp (SVAC) held a press conference celebrating the passage of a new law (Ch. 137) which expands the services community paramedics can provide under New York State law – keeping residents healthy and safe and lessening the burden on local emergency rooms – establishing a successful model for EMTs throughout New York State.
The role of community paramedics greatly expanded during Covid, when there was a dire need to have ample Covid testing, provide vaccines, and keep elderly and immunocompromised residents out of emergency rooms and hospitals. During that time, the Governor issued and until now has renewed Executive Order No. 4 which expanded the role of community paramedicine to allow paramedics to provide these additional services.
Under the Executive Order community paramedics were also able to offers flu vaccinations, as well as RSV, strep and flu testing.SVAC partnered with White Plains Hospital starting a formalized program where they provide patient at-home care and follow-ups including drawing blood for labs, giving fluids, and treating patients with pneumonia and diabetes.
The new Community Paramedicine law essentially establishes a pilot program allowing paramedics to continue providing these services for two years.
State, county, and local officials, community paramedics, and doctors from White Plains Hospital were present to speak about the success of the expanded community paramedicine program to date, how it has benefitted residents in our region, and asked that it be continued beyond the 2-year period allocated under the new law.
“I’m proud to have authored and passed this new law which enables SVAC and all New York State paramedics to continue the amazing work they did during the past 3 years under the Governor’s executive order,” said NYS Assembly Member and Assembly Health Committee Chair Amy Paulin. “What SVAC did during Covid was herculean – vaccinating and testing thousands, and providing high-quality at-home care for the elderly and immuno-compromised. I’ve lived in this community for over 40 years and have personally witnessed time and again the incredible work of our Scarsdale volunteer ambulance corp. These are highly trained and skilled paramedics who live and breathe healthcare. They’re our beacons of light in life’s darkest moments. During Covid they served thousands throughout our County. We needed them, and they stepped up. Their partnership with White Plains Hospital to provide at-home care to those in need has and will continue to help and protect our most vulnerable. The new law contains a clause allowing for expanded community paramedicine for 2 years. I’m confident that SVAC and our amazing NYS paramedics will show everyone that the change should be permanent. This new legislation is a victory for SVAC and all New Yorkers, allowing every community to adopt the transformative model pioneered by SVAC.”
“SVAC is the smallest advanced life support agency in Westchester County, but in the last three years has pulled off what most would have deemed impossible,” said SVAC President David Raizen. “During Covid, when everything else was shutting down, SVAC opened their doors widely to the residents of Westchester County. We provided tens of thousands of tests and vaccinations, either at home or at our headquarters. As COVID continued to get worse, we expanded our in-home visits in order to keep at-risk and immuno-compromised patients safe. Since then, we’ve continued to provide home visits, and outcomes have been incredible – across the board patients are healthier and safer. I thank Assemblywoman Amy Paulin for her tenaciousness in authoring and fighting for this new law. Our only goal is caring for people, and with this new law we’ll be able to continue to do so.”
County Executive George Latimer said, "The expansion of community paramedicine, signed into law by Governor Hochul, reflects our collective commitment to service and innovation allowing SVAC, OVAC and ambulance services throughout Westchester County to continue to serve communities in an expanded role. Thanks to the leadership of Assembly Member Amy Paulin and the support of our state representatives, we have secured the path to a safer and healthier future for our communities."
State Senator Pete Harckham said, “This enacted legislation, which allows our local ambulance corps to continue in their role as community paramedicine providers, is helping to reduce ER visits and 911 emergency calls. Making healthcare services more widely available in our communities as such is leading to improved patient care and an increased quality of life for residents. I thank my legislative colleagues State Senator Rivera and Assemblywoman Paulin for their leadership, and I share the gratitude of the entire community for the service of our first responders.”
State Senator Shelley Mayer said, “I am so very pleased that this bill, which allows the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corp and EMS providers to continue their outstanding work in providing quality health services, has been signed into law. The care they provide has been proven necessary during the pandemic, and community paramedicine is an essential element of care that our neighbors need. I am so proud to represent SVAC, which has pioneered this essential health service, along with the White Plains Hospital and other healthcare institutions. Thank you to Assemblymember Amy Paulin and State Senator Gustavo Rivera for your leadership on this issue. Most importantly, I thank the countless EMS providers who took innovative action when the community needed it.”
NYS Assembly Member Dana Levenberg said, "We saw during the pandemic how effective our EMS teams could be at delivering particular types of care when it was needed most. I was glad to be able to connect OVAC with the resources they needed to gain paramedicine certification when I was Ossining Town Supervisor. I'm proud to have voted for this legislation and pleased it has been passed into law, as it will enable our trusted EMS personnel to continue the efficient delivery of necessary services in our communities."
Ossining Town Supervisor Liz Feldman said, “We are very proud of our Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps and in particular Chief Nick Franzoso Jr. Their quick response and outside of the box thinking really enhanced the safety and welfare of our entire community during the Covid pandemic. The expanded Community Paramedicine programs have made a real difference in our outreach in particular to our seniors, immigrant communities and homebound individuals. I am very grateful that Governor Hochul has expanded this program for another two years, and I hope to see it made permanent in the future.”
Village of Scarsdale Mayor Justin Arest said, “As the Mayor of Scarsdale, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of allowing an expanded community paramedicine program. Throughout the pandemic SVAC provided testing, vaccinations and vital at-home care for the elderly and immunocompromised. With this new legislation, their innovative healthcare strategy has the ability to revolutionize the way we utilize emergency medical services, focusing not only on immediate response and transport, but also on prevention and ongoing care. It’s a solution for the future that could reshape our healthcare landscape. My hope is that it is made permanent and expanded throughout the State for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”
Scarsdale Village Manager Rob Cole said, “On behalf of the Village of Scarsdale, I extend thanks and appreciation to our NYS elected officials, particularly Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, for recognizing the value and importance of community paramedicine by extending for two years the period during which the related services provided by the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corp (SVAC) are authorized to continue. At the same time, I recognize the selfless dedication of the SVAC team under the capable leadership of David Raizen for their years of service to the Scarsdale community. Thank you to all having had a role in starting this important program and helping to sustain it on a moving forward basis.”
“Paramedics are an important part of the health care delivery team and help us in some of our most difficult times of need,” State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “I thank Assemblywoman Paulin for acknowledging the exceptional work of paramedics and creating this bill to expand their life-saving roles.”
Dr. Farrukh Jafri, Medical Director of WPH Cares at White Plains Hospital said, “Our community paramedics are essential to ensuring that our most vulnerable patients receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time. They are trusted members of our community, and this proactive approach helps to extend our reach beyond the walls of the hospital to care for patients in their home and decrease preventable Emergency Department visits. We are thankful to Assemblywoman Paulin for championing this law and to SVAC and our local paramedics for their commitment to keeping our community healthy.”
State Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “Paramedics provide critical services to New Yorkers and this law expands their ability to deliver much needed preventive care and keep more New Yorkers out of emergency rooms, especially in underserved communities. Our healthcare system continues to be challenged and it is essential that our policies leverage our existing workforce to provide accessible, quality care. I am proud to have worked with Assemblymember Paulin in drafting and passing this bill and commend Governor Hochul for expediently signing it into law.”
Attendees at the press conference included:
SVAC: David Raizen (speaker) and SVAC personnel
Scarsdale Mayor Justin Arest (speaker) and the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees
Scarsdale Village Manager Rob Cole (speaker) and Deputy Village Manager Alex Marshall
NYS Assembly Member Amy Paulin (speaker)
State Senator Shelley Mayer (speaker)
Harrison resident Al Chiucchini
Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corp (OVAC): Nick Franzoso (speaker) and OVAC personnel
NYS Assembly Member Dana Levenberg (speaker)
State Senator Pete Harckham (speaker)
Ossining Town Supervisor Liz Feldman (speaker)
Mike Gelormino, WP Hospital, Director of Communications
Dr. Frank Quintero (speaker) Asst Director of EMS and Emergency Preparation
Dr. Farrukh Jafri (speaker) Medical Director, WPH Cares
County Executive George Latimer (speaker)
Deputy County Executive Ken JenkinsNYS Department of Health – Ryan Greenberg (speaker), Director, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services & Trauma Systems