Village Establishes EMS Dept., OKs Billing Company

LAKEWOOD — The village of Lakewood has established an emergency medical services department and has chosen Professional Ambulance Billing of Williamsville to be its EMS billing company.

Both measures were approved unanimously Monday at a special meeting of the Lakewood Village Board. The contract for billing is through Dec. 31, 2025.

In July, the board heard a presentation by Chuck Jordan, CEO, of Professional Ambulance Billing. Mayor Randy Holcomb on Monday said the company was the best candidate.

“He (Jordan) told us he they (PAB) would stand by the fire department, the village and train everybody necessary that’s going to need to be trained. I really like that part of it. I do think PAB is going to be a good one for us and probably a good fit for the department and for the village as a whole,” Trustee Ellen Barnes said.

Trustee Ben Troche agreed with Holcomb and Barnes.

“I think PAB is the way to go. … I’ve talked to a lot of our members within our fire department, and I think PAB best for our future, primarily because they are better at tracking down the information needed if the EMT (emergency medical technician) or medic misses a piece of info.”

Some departments are opting to partner with Chautauqua County, including Celoron, Falconer

County Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman said Cassadaga also expressed interest in partnering with the county.

Guttman explained that the Emergency Management Services has a countywide Certificate Of Need authority to operate. Fire departments can partner with the county’s EMS so that a fire department can operate under the county’s certificate.

Guttman said fire departments can bill on their own if they choose.

During the passage of the state budget, a change was made that allows fire departments to recover the costs associated with providing emergency medical services and ambulance transportation.

Guttman also noted that departments that want to become their own billing entity will need to deal with billing insurances directly, something that has its challenges.

In June, the Lakewood Fire Department endorsed the village board to bill for emergency medical services.

“The rising financial strain on our services is threatening our future ability to provide state-of-the-art medical care that our residents need but deserve,” Lakewood Fire Department President Jackson Knowlton stated in a letter. “It is also our desire to be adequately updated by the village officials through the process and have a voice in the final decision-making process.”

At the June meeting, Troche said the village would not change how services are provided or dispatched. “Our citizens will still get the same care that they need,” he said.


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