Tags: Coronavirus | pandemic | ambulance | finance | strain

Ambulance Operators Say Pandemic Is Destroying the 911 System

health workers in ppe roll a guerney out of an ambulance
Austin-Travis County medic removes personal protective clothing (PPE), after loading a patient with COVID-19 symptoms into an ambulance on Aug. 5, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 03 December 2020 06:09 PM

The surging demands of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with financial strain have emergency responders reaching a ''breaking point.'' Ambulance operators say they are exhausted, and their budgets blown due to the extra personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to serve the public during the pandemic.

According to The Washington Post, the American Ambulance Association recently asked the Department of Health and Human Services for $2.6 billion in emergency funding.

''The 911 emergency medical system throughout the United States is at a breaking point,'' said Aarron Reinert, MA, the president of the association and a nationally known EMS leader, in a letter to federal officials last month. ''Without additional relief, it seems likely to break, even as we enter the third surge.''

According to the Post, ambulance providers that are private enterprises are struggling to meet rising demands for their services while trying to cover the additional cost of PPE and staff shortages as workers fall ill.

According to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, while hospitals, labs and doctor’s offices clearly play critical roles in the battle to contain COVID-19, the prehospital service provided by ambulance companies, fire departments, and even police officers are an essential part of the healthcare system.

These prehospital services have been hard hit by the pandemic. In Georgia, private ambulance services have been threatened by depleted staff from quarantines and sickness, declining revenues from fewer hospital visits, and the rising cost of PPE. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution said approximately 100 ambulance providers in the state asked for paycheck protection loans from the federal government, according to the Journal.

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The surging demands of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with financial strain has emergency responders reaching a "breaking point." Ambulance operators say they are exhausted, and their budgets blown due to the extra personal protective equipment (PPE)...
pandemic, ambulance, finance, strain
263
2020-09-03
Thursday, 03 December 2020 06:09 PM
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