State Legislature Passes Life-Saving Air Ambulance Bill

Hinchey/Woerner Bill Would Let Air Ambulances Store, Distribute Blood

ALBANY, N.Y. – Today, Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and Assemblymember Carrie Woerner (AD-113) announced the passage of their bill (S4085A/A2561B) to amend an outdated state law that restricts air ambulance providers from carrying and distributing human blood products to patients at the scene of an emergency. The legislation would allow aeromedical crews to store blood products at their bases, carry blood on flights, and donate unused blood to rural hospitals, effectively overturning cumbersome rules barring air ambulance providers from performing these vital services.

New York remains the only state in the country that does not allow air ambulance crews to carry and transfuse blood during emergencies, which bill sponsors, Hinchey and Woerner, stress puts patients in unnecessary and extreme danger, especially for residents in rural and upstate New York who generally have less access to healthcare compared to their urban counterparts.

“In rural parts of New York State, where there are no local hospitals, it can take more than an hour for someone to get to the nearest trauma center. That’s why it is so critical that we equip our first responders with the tools they need to provide life-saving care both on the scene of an emergency and en-route to the hospital,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “Our bill to finally modernize New York’s strict blood distribution laws will save lives and ensure that traumatically injured patients can receive a transfusion before they arrive at the hospital. We are thrilled that the bill passed both houses of the State Legislature with strong bipartisan support and will continue to advocate on behalf of New Yorkers and air ambulance crews everywhere so that this vital legislation is signed into law.”

“New York State is the last state in the nation to implement this critical measure for our EMS providers,” said Assemblymember Carrie Woerner. “In cases severe enough to require helicopter transport to a medical facility, it only makes sense that we should allow these health professionals to perform a transfusion in what could be a lifesaving window of time. When minutes matter, seconds can make a difference.”