Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

February 27, 2014

EMS staffing should get serious look


Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — We hope that neither politics nor money – nor the politics of money – will prevent officials in Barren and Metcalfe counties from making a real effort to address an apparent staffing shortage in the counties’ shared emergency medical service.

Ambulance service director Mike Swift told the ambulance board Wednesday that the service has often been stretched thin in recent months. Since June, sometimes as many as 12 calls a month have gone unanswered due to a lack of personnel. In other instances, patients have waited hours for service. When local EMS staff are busy transferring patients to hospitals in Louisville or Nashville, that leaves a void here at home.

Board members discussed possible solutions – the ideas ranged from more tax funding to de-emphasizing nonemergency use of the ambulances to considering private oversight of the service – but aren’t expected to take action until at least the next regular meeting April 23.

We hope board members spend the coming weeks giving serious thought to reaching a solution that solves the problem. We realize that local governments must take care to maximize their budgets, but the health and safety of our neighbors should be among a community’s top priorities.

We appreciate that board members seem open to exploring the issue and to researching potential options, and we’re hopeful that they’ll keep the best interests of our residents at the forefront of their discussions.