Lehigh Valley Health Network (PA) Looks to Add to Its Ranks

The Lehigh Valley Health Network is recruiting individuals for an Emergency Medical Services work/study program.
Photo/Lehigh Valley Health Network

Jill Whalen

Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa

The Lehigh Valley Health Network is recruiting individuals for an Emergency Medical Services work/study program.

If accepted, they’ll not only receive free tuition to the EMI Training Institute in Allentown, they’ll be hired full-time and receive a salary and benefits as they study. Once they’re finished with the classes, they will become an emergency medical technician with LVHN.

“You can’t beat it, there’s not cost to you and you’re actually going to make money while you’re doing it,” said¬†Dennis P. Ganc Jr., general manager, LVHN EMS and West End Community Ambulance.

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Ganc noted that it’s a way to beef up the ranks at a time when EMS employees are in high demand.

“It’s not just the Hazleton area. It’s a nationwide shortage of first responders and first providers all across the nation. It’s something that we’re definitely experiencing all around,” Ganc explained.

In the commonwealth, the Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania reported that there are 39,844 EMS providers, which amounts to a 31% decline since 2012.

And earlier this month in Hazleton, city council heard from a family who had waited 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive for a loved one. When none arrived, city firefighters were dispatched to assist.

Keith Micucci, administrator of emergency services at LVHN, told the Standard-Speaker that the network has been experiencing staffing challenges in both the EMT and paramedic position.

“Over the past 2 1/2 years, LVHN has been active in trying to attract and fill all our vacancies. Unfortunately, there is a supply and demand issue for these types of positions,” he said in an email, which also mentioned plans to offer the paid training.

The Accelerated Summer EMS Work/Study Training Program will be held eight hours a day over four weeks in July. The deadline to apply is June 4.

“It’s a matter of developing more trained staff, not just for us but for across the area,” Ganc said.

On average, the Hazleton EMS crew handles between 600 and 800 calls each month.

“What we are looking to do with this EMS student program is hire people who are interested in getting involved in a career in health care. This is their stepping stone and foot in the door so to speak with Lehigh Valley Health Network. They will be able to develop a career and grow it as they continue to progress,” he said.

Upon completing the program, they will go through extended in-house training for several weeks before assuming the role of an EMT-B on one of the ambulances.

“They’ll be riding as a third person with a seasoned EMT and paramedic to help further enhance their training,” he noted. “We want them to be comfortable. We’re going to teach them all about working on the ambulance.”

The on-board training will help them perfect the skills they learn in the classroom, he said.

All will work with the LVHN’s Hazleton EMS.

This is the first time LHVN is offering the program, but Ganc said other services have done so with great success.

“With the shortage of people out there, the best thing to do is recruit people, bring them in, start training them right from the start while they’re employed by you and build from within. This will really help them be successful in their health care career,” he said.

Applicants must be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma. Even though ambulance drivers must be 21 years of age, those younger will be be caring for patients until they’re able to drive.

To apply, visit: pm.healthcaresource.com/cs/lvhn/#/ job/24098.

Contact the writer: jwhalen@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3592.

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