GROVE CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – The issues surrounding emergency medical services have plagued the country as a whole. Wednesday night, a public meeting was held at Grove City Area High School on how to handle them in western Pennsylvania. Led by first responders, the problems were laid out.
In a meeting with about 50 people, Doug Dick, the chief of Superior Ambulance, explained what first responders are dealing with. He said the issues started in 2018 and got much worse when the pandemic hit because people were told not to go to the hospital.
“So, EMS agencies across the country lost a lot of revenue because they weren’t moving patients,” Dick said.
Just like the rest of the country, many of their expenses went up with inflation. Dave Basnak, the executive director of Emergycare, says ambulance prices have gone up about 30 percent, plus the cost of having them fully equipped.
“Then you tack on another 30 percent onto that price but your reimbursement is not keeping up with that from insurance, that’s a problem. That’s what we’re dealing with,” Basnak said.
Other issues include lack of financial support from communities and a limited number of providers.
“‘Cause no longer we can survive off the insurance reimbursement alone,” Basnak said.
There are many calls EMS agencies do not get reimbursed for, such as lift assists or welfare checks. So, they’re asking for help from the public.
“Nothing we are very crazy about that we like to entertain,” Basnak said.
A chart was shown to show the possibility of a 1 mill property tax levy if it was put on the ballot. It split it up among the communities that Superior Ambulance covers. In total, over $355,000 would come from Mercer County. It is just one of multiple options to help emergency medical services that was shown.
“When it comes down to what the options that are out there that are on the books, on the law that is permissible, these are the options that are out there,” Basnak said.