ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Senator Pam Helming announced she is calling on Governor Hochul to make EMS services in rural communities a top priority.

In 2021, New York State passed Senate Bill S3503, which established the Rural Ambulance Services Task Force — a 12-person task force to evaluate challenges faced by ambulance workers in rural areas.

According to the legislation, the goal of the Task Force is to present a comprehensive view of the state’s ambulance services while making recommendations to improve the services for people in rural communities.

Senator Helming, in a letter sent to Governor Hochul, said that the law is set to expire in December 2021, despite the task force only making three out of 14 appointments with no normal meeting notices. The letter is also calling for Hochul to convene the task force as soon as possible.

“I sent a formal letter to the governor, the temporary president of the New York State Senate, and the Speaker of the House on December 8 asking for an update, begging them to convene the task force,” Helming said. “I have not received a single response.”

Helming was joined by Chief Matt Sproul of the Canandaigua Emergency Squad to discuss the need for these services for residents of rural communities. He hopes the Task Force will get moving.

“I believe that EMS is at a critical point at this time, especially in rural areas,” Chief Sproul said. “There are a lot of individuals who are calling at this time for an ambulance for emergency needs and due to no ambulance being available within an appropriate amount of time, their chances of a better outcome are decreasing every minute that goes by.”