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Utica's ambulance service still without certificate

By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The City of Utica is in the ambulance business, but they say getting certified is a long process. To operate an ambulance service the city or a company requires a legal certificate of need. Since 2007, the city's certificate of need has expired and they have been operating on legal stays as the issue goes through appeals.

According to Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks, the city's certificate is before a judge, and the he expects things to go in their favor. The chief says that they have technology that only four ambulance companies, out of 12,000 in the country have.

The city also recently had an unannounced inspection from the state. "I feel very confident that when this goes before a judge that they will approve us running the ambulance here in Utica, as I said a city has the right to determine what services and at what level they provide them to people," said Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks.

Kunkel Ambulance can't operate while the city does, because the state regulates the industry in an effort to keep costs down. However Kunkel does serve as a back up option when all city ambulances are out.

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