Beekman Fire District votes to terminate EMS services at Green Haven, officials say
Incarcerated individuals, staff and visitors at Green Haven Correctional Facility in the Town of Beekman remain without emergency medical services as of Friday, after ambulances stopped arriving to the prison in August.
News 12 first reported the disruption in services at the state prison in Dutchess County on Sept.12.
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision now confirms to News 12 that the Beekman Fire District has formally decided to stop providing emergency medical services moving forward.
So far, it’s not clear why, but union officials say they believe it’s about money.
“New York State Correctional Facilities are more dangerous now than ever before and no replacement services are being made available by the fire district or state,” says Chris Moreau, New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association Mid-Hudson region vice president. “How could that be about anything else other than money over safety?”
Moreau says prison staff are taking patients themselves for emergency care in state vans for the time being.
“Injured staff must either transport themselves to local hospitals, or additional staff must be diverted from providing facility safety and transport their coworkers to local hospitals. We know that the initial care after an injury is critical. What if ambulances no longer responded to your job, or to your children’s school, because community demand is high, and it wasn’t economically incentivizing for emergency services to respond? This isn’t just a prison problem. This is a community problem.”
State officials say they’re working with private operators to find a solution.
“Despite the Department’s best efforts, unfortunately the Beekman Fire District has decided to not provide services for the employees who work, many of whom also reside in the area, as well as the incarcerated at Green Haven Correctional Facility,” said DOCCS Spokesperson Thomas Mailey. “DOCCS is exploring all options to ensure the best care possible in case of emergencies for staff, visitors and the incarcerated, in this Dutchess County Community.”
News 12 has called the Town of Beekman and the Beekman Fire District for comment but hasn’t heard back.
“I implore the commissioners to re-evaluate and reverse their decision immediately and I will do all that I can to make sure it happens,” says Moreau. “I encourage the community of Beekman to reach out to the District’s representatives and express their discontent as well.”