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Push To Make EMS An Essential Service Discussed

Some rural EMS Directors are looking toward a new state law to help train more volunteer medical responders and keep them on the job. The law allows counties to declare EMS an essential service like police or fire and collect taxes to pay for it. Julie Scadden is the ambulance service director for Dysart in east-central Iowa. Scadden says her department is depending on fundraisers and Medicare fees from transporting patients.

About 80% of the medical responders in Dysart are volunteers. Scadden says the program was already shorthanded before seven people stopped volunteering last year over concerns they could be exposed to the coronavirus.

Scadden says local taxes could help rural programs cover the cost of training and equipment. She says Dysart is in the early stages of organizing an emergency EMS resolution. The law requires approval from county supervisors and at least 60% of voters. Scadden made her comments on the Iowa Public Radio program, “River to River.”

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