Penn. legislators should heed warnings, give local ambulance companies CPR


 
 

Morning Call | | Friday, June 22, 2007


ALLENTOWN, Penn. Within the space of three months this spring, several nonprofit ambulance organizations throughout the region revealed a serious need for financial resuscitation. In March, Perkasie Community Ambulance in Bucks County shut down when its financial and management problems proved insurmountable.

Also in March, Jim Thorpe Emergency Medical Service in Carbon County consolidated with nearby Lehighton Ambulance after a period of difficulty in raising money and recruiting volunteers. Supervisors in Upper Saucon Township announced plans to merge ambulance services in Upper Saucon, Lower Milford and Coopersburg to reduce costs.

In April, the Williams Township Emergency Squad in Northampton County announced it will close by June 30, due to a lack of volunteers. Then this month, the Dublin Regional EMS in Upper Bucks closed for financial reasons not long after it was evicted from its headquarters. A chart published with a story Monday cited a number of other ambulance companies throughout this region that have dealt with financial problems and insufficient volunteer recruitments dating to 2001.

Momentum is growing for changes in the way emergency services are funded in this state -- so much so, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Bucks, plans a hearing tomorrow at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown Township. Many people don't understand that the closest ambulance services to their homes aren't affiliated with local fire departments. Municipalities spend a considerable amount of money on fire and police departments, but state laws don't require them to provide funds for ambulance crews.

The amount of work they do, however, is tremendous. There are nearly 1,000 licensed organizations that treat 1.6 million patients annually. But closings and mergers obviously would mean longer response times, and worse.

How long would it take an ambulance to reach your home? With each passing year, the answer to that question could be more troublesome as financial woes leave more ambulance services with no other options than to close or merge, if they are to stay in operation.

In 2004, a state Senate Commission called for a change in the state borough and municipal codes and Pennsylvania manual so that "emergency medical services" would become part of a list of services that municipalities are required to provide.

The Legislature needs to address the issues that have an impact on emergency services. For example, medical insurance reimbursement checks are sent to patients, who then are supposed to forward the money to the ambulance squads. It is easy to see why ambulance services would prefer a law requiring insurance companies to send reimbursements directly to ambulance companies. It's long past time to give ambulance crews CPR.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Operations and Protcols

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

REMSA Programs Helps Reduce Hospital Visits

Community paramedic effort goes into service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

City Official Challenges San Francisco Fire Chief

Ambulance response times among problems noted by city supervisor.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Crash

Victoria ambulance collides with civilian vehicle.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Medics Ditch Pants for Kilts

“Real men do wear kilts.”
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

CO Leak at Illinois School

Girard incident sends over 130 to hospitals.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On September 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >