A decade long discussion between Emergency Management Supervisors throughout the state has involved ways to improve the system. In Winnebago, Hancock, and now Wright Counties, volunteering to be an Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic is on the decline. According to Wright County Emergency Manager Jim Lester, finding the volunteers is at a premium.
Emergency centers are also seeing declining reimbursements for services from insurance and Medicaid. Those reimbursements do not match the rising operational costs for the service.
In Wright County, the Board of Supervisors declared Emergency Medical Services as an essential service which allows for EMT’s and paramedics to be paid. The board is now looking to make sure that the funding is there according to Lester.
The concern is that services need to be maintained throughout the county. This means that there needs to be a change in how EMT’s and paramedics are compensated in order to keep people on staff and trained. Lester is confident that Wright County citizens will get behind the levy and keep a strong EMS program going.
The next public information meetings are July 17th in the Eagle Grove Library, July 19th in the Belmond City Hall, and July 24th in the Dows Community Room. All meetings begin at 7pm.