Iowa Legislators See A Push to Make EMS Workers Essential
Did you know Emergency Medical Service (EMS) workers are not considered "essential" in the state of Iowa? I didn't, but a current bill being pushed through the state legislature hopes to make it so they are.
A KCRG story states that police and fire responders are required when their protection and help is called on, but EMS is not officially "essential."
They spoke to Tripoli's EMS director Kip Ladage who said the industry is in a "state of crisis" due to many departments experiencing a lack of volunteers, funding, and staff shortages. Some are even shutting down entirely or combining resources with neighboring communities, all leading to longer wait times, and overwhelming those available. His small department responds to about 175 calls a year, with only up to about 6 workers on staff responding to calls at any given time.
What would happen under House Bill HF562 is to formally declare EMS an essential service so communities could raise funds for those departments through taxes. It's already passed the Iowa House and is on its way to the state Senate where Cedar Falls Senator Eric Giddens is confident it will also go through, saying it's not only long overdue but also a matter of "life and death."
Kip Ladage recounts an experience where an ambulance was not available for a "long time" to respond to help his loved one who later lost their life, despite his own efforts to resuscitate them. He urges citizens to reach out to elected officials to get this legislation passed.