EMS WEEK
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

EMSA Services Under Strain, CEO Warns

TULSA, Okla. -- As the baby boomer generation ages and health-care costs continue to increase, emergency medical services face a series of daunting problems, the CEO of EMSA said Monday. Federal health reform may spark the discussion to improve the nation's foundering health-care infrastructure, Stephen Williamson said during a Tulsa Press Club Page One luncheon.

The number of patients transported has increased by 35 percent in the past five years, partly because of the growing population of older people who are more likely to have chronic conditions and more likely to need emergency care, Williamson said.

Of the patients transported, 62 percent of them are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, 18 percent are on private insurance and 20 percent are uninsured, he said. For those who are covered, reimbursement rates often don't cover the cost of transporting a patient, he said.

To help save money, EMSA studies call volumes and trends to determine where to position active ambulance crews. Technology advances like electronic health records and global positioning systems also help efficiency, Williamson said. For the emergency health services to continue operating properly, the existing infrastructure needs to change, he said.

"The answer, though, isn't simply more money." Emergency rooms aren't overcrowded with people who have genuine emergencies, but with people who have no other access to health care. They go to the emergency room because they know they will get treatment, and sometimes because they don't have another way to see a physician.

"It's people whose condition worsened because they couldn't get to a doctor earlier," he said.

RELATED ARTICLES

12 Missing After Storm, Flooding Hit Texas

Rescue teams search for members of two families after home is swept off its foundation.

Bull Riders See Little Change in Concussion Prevention

Medical staffer sees no drop in numbers despite helmet use.

University Hospital EMS Receives AHA Gold Award

Lifeline Gold Award recognizes quality improvement measures in treatment of heart attack patients.

U.S. Representative Pushes for National EMS Memorial

Legislation calls for a national EMS memorial to be built in Washington, D.C.

Five Killed in Fiery Georgia Crash

Police investigate cause of tragic crash on I-16 west of Savannah.

Discovery Finds First Step in Creating Morphine without Opium

UC Berkeley team has discovered steps to making morphine without using opium poppies.

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts