EMS services in our region seeing a huge funding crisis
Hollidaysburg, PA (WJAC) —
Imagine calling 911 and waiting on an ambulance that will never come.
“There are no funds to stay open,” says Hollidaysburg Ambulance executive director Donnie Edelblute, “No assistance or help on the way and I think this is something that should have been recognized and dealt with 10 years ago however it is just now starting to come to fruition and people are just now starting to talk about it.”
Donnie Edelblute says the lack of funding for first responders nationwide is now hitting home in our region. He says if something isn't done the crisis will only get worse.
“I think everyone needs to hear that emergency services as we know it currently is not going to be here much longer if we continue the way we are going," says Edelblute.
“Think back in those days you had tow truck drivers and funeral directors taking you to the hospital and these days we do so much more, we do more than just transport people to the hospital.”
Edelblute says a major problem is Medicare. Insurance isn’t paying EMS Services back in full when they transport a patient.
“With them being the largest employer, we have the most interaction with them,” says Edelblute. “We transport the most people with that insurance and the last time that I checked on it we are getting back in return at about 6 percent less than it costs for us to do business.”
This huge lack of funding is causing a decrease in staffing and even forcing companies close their doors.
“Blair County used to have 11, 12, 13, ambulance services and we are pretty much down to two or three now with more and more people closing up every year.”
It all comes down to money. Dollars that need to come from our legislators and EMS personnel need your help.
“We need a voice. We need the public and the communities to go out there and express their concerns to the people they have voted into office,” says Edelblute