Michigan facing “alarming” shortage of paramedics

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There’s an alarming shortage of EMTs and paramedics across Michigan.
It’s been a problem for years, but has gotten a lot worse during the pandemic.

If you’ve called an ambulance for an emergency, your wait time may have been longer than expected.

The demand for EMTs and paramedics is so high, there are more than 1,000 positions open across the state.

“It’s made it worse just because of the added stresses of doing the job now, not only in the workplace but in their homes. The stress is hitting everybody, covid nobody dodged that bullet,” said Director of Clinton Area Ambulance Services, Lynn Weber.

He says ambulance services all over are short-staffed and overworked.

“Sometimes we’re tapped to provide what is called mutual aid. We go and we assist in covering [other,] communities. That dilutes our ability to respond here,” said Webber.

One reason for the shortage is that the reimbursement rate from Medicaid is only paid out when someone is transported to the hospital, not when someone is serviced.

Now, the Michigan Association of Ambulance Services is asking lawmakers to help.

“For that 10 million dollars, along with federal funds drawn down to match, that would increase our reimbursement rates to Medicare reimbursement, which would be much more sustainable for our EMS providers here in Michigan,” said Angela Madden, Executive Director of Michigan Association of Ambulance Services.

Advocates are also calling for $5 million be to given out as education grants to get more people interested in the field.
“To people interested in an EMS career in the form of tuition reimbursement or to EMS, education programs in the hopes that they would then provide free education to people interested in EMS,” said Madden.

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