Commissioners Approve $5.5 Million for Bucks EMS Squads
The Bucks County Board of Commissioners last week allocated $5.47 million in federal COVID-relief dollars to the county’s nonprofit emergency medical services providers.
Approved last Wednesday by a unanimous vote of the Commissioners, the funds are intended to offset revenue loss EMS providers experienced during the early days of the pandemic when calls for service declined.
The providers can use the funding to support payroll, provide recruitment and retention incentives, and to bolster staff education efforts.
“Our EMS agencies continue to struggle to find funding, and personnel recruitment has been a challenge,” county Emergency Services Director Audrey Kenny said during Wednesday’s Commissioners’ Meeting. “This gives them an opportunity to level-set some of their books a bit, and get themselves back to a better position financially.”
Kenny said EMS agencies saw a five percent decrease in calls early in the pandemic.
The county’s nonprofit EMS providers typically respond each year to about 60,000 calls and transport some 40,000 people. Kenny said transports tend to account for approximately 75 percent of an EMS agency’s revenue.
“Unfortunately, I hear all too often about how much difficulty our rescue squads are having, so I do hope this kind of tapes things together,” said Commissioner Vice Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia. “I would encourage all municipalities to take a look a how they are funding their rescue squads. It is their responsibility.”
“In the next few years, this money will run out, and we hope they’ll be able to take over,” she said.
The Commissioners allocated the funding from money the county received through the American Rescue Plan Act.