Local agencies are working together on securing ambulance transportation for patients from our local hospitals to other facilities for additional treatment. Like many industries, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are experiencing staffing shortages across the nation. In addition to low staffing numbers, each ambulance service has an obligation to comply with state and local requirements on protocol such as keeping a certain number of ambulances in the area to support 911 services. These factors as well as others such as long hours, low pay, increased educational requirements, increased costs and low insurance reimbursement rates make it difficult to hire and retain staff.
“War Memorial not only contacts our local EMS transfer services, but if they are unavailable we have a list of roughly 15 other services that we will reach out to across the state of Michigan when a transport is needed” said Dr. Kyle Raycraft, EUP Med Control Authority Medical Director. “Due to a state wide shortage of EMS personnel and higher transfer numbers across the state, fewer transportation services are able to help with transfers from War Memorial” David Jahn, President & CEO of War Memorial Hospital added. It was noted by Jahn that flight crews are utilized when available, but adverse weather and insurance restrictions limit the availability of this option in some situations.
Local agencies are committed to finding solutions to the current problem. “The goal of all organizations involved is to get each patient the care that they need in a timely manner and we are doing everything we can to make that happen” said Scott LaBonte, Sault Ste. Marie Fire Chief.
“EMS would like to see higher reimbursement rates, support from local and federal funding” said Renee Gray, Kinross EMS Director. “Collaboration between these agencies would allow us to best utilize available resources” Gray added
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