By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
DURHAM— Paramedic and former Greene County Legislator Aidan O’Connor has been appointed to a statewide task force aimed at addressing challenges faced by rural ambulance services.
O’Connor will join the 12-member New York State Rural Ambulance Services Task Force formed under a bill advanced by state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-46.
The legislation created the task force to study and evaluate the difficulties rural ambulance services are faced with that have led to staffing shortages and in some cases, the closure of rescue squads.
O’Connor, who is the Greene County EMS Leader, will aid the task force in making recommendations to the state Legislature regarding policies, programs, funding and legislation that will shore up rural ambulance services and help ensure their long-term viability.
“Rural EMS services across New York state are in crisis due to decades of systemic underinvestment, which is why I authored the legislation to create the Rural Ambulance Services Task Force so that we could bring together some of our state’s most experienced first responders, like Greene County’s Aidan O’Connor, to help us illuminate the detrimental challenges and solve the root causes before it’s too late,” Hinchey said.
O’Connor has worked in emergency medical services for more than a decade in numerous roles. He has served as EMS coordinator for Greene County, chairman of the Greene County EMS Council, president of Greene County Paramedics and advocacy coordinator for the National Association of EMTs.
He has also been on the board of directors for the Regional Emergency Medical Organization and has been a member of the State Emergency Medical Advisory Committee and co-chairman of the Greene County Ambulance Task Force.
O’Connor also has many years of hands-on clinical experience. He has served as a critical care flight paramedic for LifeNet of New York, where he provided air medical care for patients being transported to hospitals around the state’s rural communities.
He is currently a member of the senior leadership team at Air Methods and a paramedic with Greene County EMS.
“I was incredibly proud to nominate lifetime EMS professional Aidan O’Connor to serve on the Rural Ambulance Services Task Force, and I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins for accepting my recommendation and officially assigning Aidan to this critical task force,” Hinchey said.
O’Connor said it is crucial to support rural ambulance services and the statewide task force will work to identify their needs now and moving into the future.
“I am honored for the opportunity to serve at a time so vital for our EMS providers, EMS organizations, and the patients and communities we serve,” O’Connor said. “It will be imperative that we provide our elected officials with the data and recommendations that will both fix and provide the transformational change we need for our rural EMS system. I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of transport medicine. We know that EMS in New York state can, and will be, a best practice model for the nation.”