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Cayuga County officials say AMR closure won’t have major impact

Following the announced closure of the American Medical Response (AMR) station in Auburn at the end of the year, Cayuga County officials have reviewed ambulance data and found the impact to be “far less alarming” than initially feared.

The Citizen reports that Riley Shurtleff, Director of Emergency Services for Cayuga County, said the existing emergency medical services system would be strained but not broken by AMR’s departure.

He emphasized in a letter to emergency medical service providers that mutual aid agreements and new collaborations would compensate for the loss of AMR’s services.

Shurtleff explained that while AMR historically responded to an estimated 3,000 calls annually, actual data showed lower figures of 2,436 dispatches in 2022 and 2,813 in 2021. Additionally, AMR’s cancellation rates were high at 44% in 2022 and over 30% in 2021, with about 9.25% of calls resulting in patient refusals.

Shurtleff highlighted the situation’s ongoing concerns, particularly the need for municipal funding of ambulance agencies, citing rising equipment costs and stagnant reimbursement rates as challenges. He noted that the New York State Senate is considering a bill to classify ambulances as an essential service, which would require such funding.