EMS Workers Rally in Charleston

By: Abbie Schrader Email
By: Abbie Schrader Email

An important day at the state capitol in Charleston as many gathered to urge Governor Tomblin to protect emergency medical services from a state proposal that would cut their funding if implemented.

Medical first responders, paramedics and emergency medical technicians rallied Monday afternoon on the steps of the state capitol in an effort to protect emergency services in rural areas from a proposal allowing the state to contract with a broker for non-emergency medical transportation otherwise known as N.E.M.T.

In the state's plan a broker would schedule N.E.M.T. runs and decide which squads get revenue and how much.

Some squads could end up receiving as little as $7 a run.

"The revenue we receive from doing those transports goes to support our emergency side of the ambulance services so that we do have 911 trucks available for emergency calls," says Larry Stephens, Director of Camden Clark Ambulance Services.

And those who live in rural areas would be at greater risk of having their health and safety threatened in an emergency situation.

"So if they could lose all that revenue then they're going to have to reduce the number of ambulances they run and have less stations which is going to increase response times when there is a wreck or a family emergency," says Chris Hall, with the West Virginia EMS Coalition.

With West Virginia being one of the most rural states in the country, more ambulances are required to cover the areas.

The EMS Coalition hopes that if the state does move forward and carry out the N.E.M.T. broker plan, that they exclude ambulance squads.

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