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Sound The Alarm: WV Loses 35% of EMTs

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The West Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services has sounded an alarm. Data released by the agency in a report titled “EMS At Risk in the Mountain State” details a very scary trend for all West Virginians – over a third of EMS personnel are no longer available to respond. It is believed that post-pandemic an additional large number of certified personnel are no longer actively participating in direct patient care.

West Virginia ranks last in Mean Hourly and Annual Wage when compared to neighboring states at $14.67 per hour and $30,520 per year. Compared to other positions Veterinary Technicians in West Virginia make more than an EMT.

EMS Agencies rely heavily on reimbursement from public and private insurance. In West Virginia 69% of residents are either uninsured or covered by government plans. This means that low reimbursement rates from Medicaid places most EMS care at a monetary loss.

In many West Virginia communities, EMS has responded to increased calls stemming from the opioid crisis. However, most of the funding mechanisms from opioid settlements invest in increased training and community education, while neglecting baseline salary and benefits.

Funding for EMS agencies is largely controlled by the county commission. Each commission is mandated to provide some level of EMS service for the county, but this definition is vague at best. Other states rely on hospital partnerships to offset, supplement, and even operate EMS services. In a very controlled certificate of need state like West Virginia, it would seem that adding more responsibility to the hospital to participate in EMS agency funding might be something worth exploring.

Source: View the WV EMS Coalition Report Here

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  • Staff Writer

    From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting “Staff Writer” indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.

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From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting "Staff Writer" indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.