The City of Meadville is being faced with what they are calling an emergency medical service crisis.
Tonight, Meadville City Council hosted a town hall where first responders, taxpayers and residents had their chance to speak out.
The City of Meadville is dealing with a tight budget, and not only are there low levels of staff, but they also are losing money with every emergency call.
A problem facing communities all over the state came to a head Tuesday night in Meadville as emergency services are looking for help funding their life saving work.
They’re using the word crisis.
“When we start looking at how we can help and what we can do, especially as there’s talk of potential half-mil tax increases from ambulance services, of how can we interject and provide that level of service without putting any financial burden onto the city, but also making sure that high level of care is there,” said Evan Kardosh, firefighter, paramedic, City of Meadville.
Meadville emergency medical services currently operates with the help of Meadville Ambulance owner Eric Henry, and the City of Meadville Fire Department. They’ve always had a working relationship, but now finances are becoming a strain.
“Ambulances lose money. If they’re just going to run emergencies, they’re going to lose money. The end result is if you need care for your residents, the money has to come from somewhere to pay for the providers. That’s the key,” said Eric Henry, owner, Meadville Ambulance.
Along with finances and increased drug prices, manpower is a serious issue.
Meadville Ambulance emergency services span 22 different municipalities.
“We just don’t know where we’re going to be, where the emergencies are going to be at. Like Evan said, with staffing shortages and being short medics, it becomes a challenge. Sometimes you need three ambulances or four ambulances out on the road and you only have staffing for two,” said Henry.
Firefighters from around the region showed up to the town hall, sharing what they’ve tried to implement.
One idea was to put an advance level care ambulance into the station — separate from Meadville Ambulance. But that comes at a cost.
“Our fire department and our firefighters are willing to step up and take on some of that for no additional compensation, but take on a much greater workload to make sure the citizens are covered,” said Kardosh.
While Meadville will continue to receive emergency coverage, the issue likely won’t be workshopped again until after the start of the new year.