The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors formed an advisory board after declaring county EMS services an essential service. This board is now proposing that a levy be created and passed by the voters which would fund and better equip emergency medical services in the county. The three private agencies in Forest City, Lake Mills, and Buffalo Center are facing serious staffing issues.
In Hancock County, a similar board met to discuss issues between the two ambulatory services of Garner and West Hancock. Communication and cooperation were the main topics of discussion along with staffing. Both receive outside funding according to Garner Mayor and firefighter Tim Schmidt.
The biggest hurdle all ambulatory agencies in the area face is location, location, location.
Area ambulatory agencies are willing to pay for certification and training of new recruits to help fill the void. They are also trying to change the employment status of EMT’s and paramedics in Winnebago County by making positions full time or with county government benefits. The proposed levy is expected to help make that possible. Voters will have the opportunity to approve the levy in the upcoming elections.