County pays $50K bill for air ambulance

Gwen Chamberlain The Chronicle-Express

Yates County legislators have agreed to settle a debt with Life Flight Air Ambulance Service by paying the company $50,699.45 for the transfer of a Yates County Jail inmate in April.

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike explains the 25-year-old male collapsed in the jail’s recreation yard April 9, and was taken to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital by Penn Yan Ambulance. Emergency Department personnel determined he should be transported to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester via air ambulance. He later died at Strong from internal natural injuries on April 23, according to Spike.

Spike says county officials attempted to negotiate a reduction but were only able to reduce the cost by 10 percent from the original bill of $56,332.72. Spike says this was the first time a Yates County jail inmate was transported by helicopter for critical care.

The county is responsible for the cost of inmates’ medical care.

Legislators approved the payment unanimously at the June 12 meeting.

Other business on the legislator’s agenda Monday included:

• Finger Lakes Economic Development Center: FLEDC CEO Steve Griffin reported on progress made over the past 10 years and existing challenges for Yates County economic development.

He made a case for more local investment in parks, recreation, and culture. “We have to start investing in the community, not just the areas the state and federal governments tell us,” he said.

• Reaccreditation of Court Security: New York State Sheriff’s Association Executive Director and Counsel Peter Kehoe presented Sheriff Ron Spike with a plaque recognizing the Sheriff Office’s efforts to maintain accreditation for the Court Security division. Yates County Court Security was first accredited in 2007 and reaccredited in 2012. Yates County is one of nine New York State counties that has achieved accreditation in court security operations. Spike also noted Yates County is one of just a handful of agencies in the state that is accredited in all five state disciplines: DCJS Law enforcement/police services; County Jail operations; 911 PSAP; Civil Division and Court Security.