Riverside County Feels Effects Of Paramedic, EMT Shortage
A shortage of emergency medical technicians and trained paramedics continues nationwide. In Southern California, the shortage has affected response rates and is causing the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to reconsider its longtime partnership with provider American Medical Response.
Why now: A little over three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States, a shortage of emergency medical technicians and paramedics still remains. Emergency workers in Riverside County have given accounts of insufficient paramedic staffing on vehicles operated by American Medical Response, the county's emergency ambulance provider. As a result, Riverside County Fire paramedics have had to pick up the slack.
The backstory: American Medical Response and other EMS agencies have laid blame for the shortage on pressures and dangers brought on by the pandemic. Last Tuesday, at the Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting, officials denied a one-year extension of their current contract with AMR, which is scheduled to end in June 2026.
What's next: Regional AMR director Jeremy Shumaker said the company is working on making advanced paramedic certification training more appealing via “sign-on bonuses, automatic pay raises, and educational benefits," but that growth from those changes is slow. The county is also amending its emergency services model so that calls not in need of immediate medical attention are re-routed to a different dispatch system.
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