Edmonson County EMS facing critical staffing shortages

Edmonson County EMS faces staffing shortages.
Edmonson County EMS faces staffing shortages.(WBKO)
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 4:43 PM EDT
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EDMONSON COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - Since the Coronavirus pandemic, various medical fields have faced a critical staffing shortage, that includes local ambulance services. However, this apparently isn’t a new challenge.

“There’s a lot of things that were ongoing prior to the pandemic that the pandemic has really compounded, exposed and brought to light. We’ve been facing staffing shortages in the state of Kentucky probably for seven or eight years for paramedics,” said Keith Sanders, Edmonson County EMS Director and paramedic.

EMTs and paramedics are needed by almost every agency in Kentucky. Edmonson County EMS says they’re facing these challenges firsthand. With five trucks, the agency only has about 20 full-time paramedics and EMTs and additionally, about ten or eleven part-time.

Sanders says he can probably do with about 20-30 percent more staffing.

“To adequately ensure that we never miss a run, I really would need to staff an additional 24-hour truck, which requires at least two people, unless you want to include a bunch of overtime. If you put them on a 24-hour rotation, then you’ve got a lot of built-in over time, which increases your cost. But the manhour equivalent is probably three people.”

Sanders says they could offer more in wages if they could make more money on the federal level. This is one of the many contributing factors to the staffing shortages.

“Multiple contributing factors into that wages, program availability, the number of people interested in going into it,” expressed Sanders. “We’re staffed right now basically, at a minimum staffing level. We use a lot of part-time people to fill in holes.”

On Tuesday, October 26 on WBKO News at six, we are diving deeper into this issue in the latest installment of our Bridging the Gap of the Great Health Divide series.

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