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WellSpan to Cut EMS Services in Pennsylvania

WellSpan Health will soon discontinue the provision of Advanced Life Support services and the leasing of paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

Currently, the health system provides ALS services and leases medics and EMTs to various ambulance companies in the community. But as the health system re-evaluates this 30-year-old model of service, it will phase out those positions, said spokesman Barry Sparks. When WellSpan hospitals began offering those services, the community's resources were much different, he said.

"At the time, the availability of (Basic Life Support) and ALS services either didn't exist or were very limited," Sparks said.

But today, York's number of private ALS and BLS providers adequately meets the needs of the community, he said. Adjusting to a changing environment is the main reason for this change, and although it makes sense that the move will save the health system some money, that was not a deciding factor, Sparks said.

The change will take place over the next 90 to 120 days, during which time WellSpan will work with private ALS and BLS providers to ensure a smooth transition that will not disrupt service, he said.

What's next: It's not yet clear how many WellSpan employees will lose their jobs during this transition, Sparks said. The health system is one of the largest employers in York and Adams counties, with more than 8,000 employees, but he does not yet know how many will be affected.

"As we move forward, we'll have a better handle on that," Sparks said.

York Hospital will over the next 18-24 months work closely with area fire companies and community leaders to evaluate the best way to provide these emergency services, he said.

And in Adams County, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital will work over the next year to transition BLS services to the multiple providers currently in place, he said.

The change will not adversely affect the level of emergency care in the region, he said.

"We're very confident that the level of quality in York and Adams counties will be maintained," Sparks said.

___

Courtesy of The York Dispatch.



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