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First Responders, Paramedics, Medical Technicians Rally At Capitol

Reported by: Send eMail Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Nov. 18, 2013 11:09 AM EST
Updated: Nov. 18, 2013 11:22 PM EST

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First Responders Rally
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Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Changes could be coming to the ambulance system in West Virginia. It all has to do with a new proposal from the Bureau for Medical Services to change the way the state handles non-emergency transports. The goal is to save money within the medicaid program, about $5 million a year.

But EMS agencies who rallied at the capitol warn it will come at a cost to anyone who calls 911 in an emergency. They say they rely on money from those non-emergency trips to supplement the ambulance system.

Without that money, they say they'll have to down-size majorly, closing some ambulance stations and pulling trucks off the road, especially in rural areas because they simply won't be able to afford the level of service, they provide right now.

Under the new plan, when a medicaid member needs a non-emergency transport they will have to contact a broker who will arrange transportation. Those brokers will be in contract with various private companies in the state. The plan will go into effect January 2014. The various EMS groups are hoping the governor will keep that from happening.




Medical first responders, paramedics and medical technicians were scheduled to rally Monday at the West Virginia Capitol to protest a proposal by the state to contract with a broker for non-emergency medical transportation.

The rally is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on the south side steps of the Capitol, according to an advisory from organizers of the event.

Organizers said EMS squads depend on revenue from non-emergency medical transportation to subsidize their emergency medical services. They claim the state’s plan to contractor with a broker to schedule non-emergency medical transportation threatens the EMS squads’ future. Without non-emergency medical transportation, the organizers of the rally said, many of them would not be able to maintain their emergency services. They believe this could threaten the health and safety of state residents they serve, especially in rural areas.



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