Randy Yohe Published

$10 Million Allocated To Help W.Va. EMS Agencies

Emergencies happen at all hours, but the cost of staffing an emergency department at night is higher than by day, according to emergency care providers.

Challenged with budget constraints and personnel shortages, some state emergency medical services (EMS) agencies, like Star City in Monongalia County and Tucker County EMS are suspending or limiting services.

West Virginia lawmakers now have a plan to help struggling agencies.

Del. Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, said Gov. Jim Justice has allocated $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for EMS agency relief.

Statler chairs the House Committee on Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services. He said a bipartisan group of house and senate lawmakers have a plan for immediate short term remedies while working on a permanent fix.

Statler said he can’t reveal many details on the plan. When asked about a priority, he said recruiting and retaining qualified EMS workers looms as the top challenge.

“Keeping people in the field, whether it be by money, or just enough people to keep them out there to keep their services going and open,” Statler said. “So that is going to be a lot of what we’re going to look at.”

Statler said he will work on possible short and long term solutions during next week’s interim committee meetings. He said the $10 million must be spent by the end of September or revert back to the federal government. Only 32 of West Virginia’s 55 counties offer EMS services.