No EMS-related hearing in the Pennsylvania General Assembly is complete without legislators and testifiers sounding the alarm over a system in crisis.
At a State Senate Health and Human Services hearing on Tuesday, these warnings and more echoed in the Capitol.
Pennsylvania’s hyperlocal emergency medical services system teeters on the brink of collapse and, officials say, it’s up to legislators to intervene before it’s too late.
“If they do nothing, this will collapse — there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it —this system will collapse if nothing changes,” said Eric Henry, a Crawford County Commissioner and owner of the Meadville Area Ambulance Service.
Pending the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania will be the 22nd state to join an EMS compact making it easier for emergency workers to practice across state lines.
The agreement standardizes privilege to practice rules, validates licenses in a national registry, and grants emergency medical workers the ability to work across state lines on a short-term basis. By aligning rules and standards, Pennsylvania poses fewer barriers to out-of-state workers who may relocate to the commonwealth.
COVID-19 vaccination was “significantly associated” with a 25% jump in emergency medical services (EMS) for heart problems in 16-39 year-olds in Israel, whose vaccination rate is among the world’s highest, according to a peer-reviewed study by MIT researchers.