Iowa lawmakers hope to solve EMS shortage - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Iowa lawmakers hope to solve EMS shortage

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Lack of volunteers stepping up to provide emergency medical services is an issue we're facing nationwide.

And, Oyens, Iowa, knows the consequences all too well. Oyens recently stopped its ambulance service.

EMS is not considered an "essential service" like the fire department or police department, so some say there needs to be a guaranteed form of funding to sustain these programs.

Siouxland Paramedics Director of Operations Terry Stecker said the Iowa EMS Association has been working with lawmakers to come up with ways to maintain volunteers in some of the struggling communities.

"One of the reasons the funding is so important is because we're running out of volunteers. No one wants to volunteer their time, so somebody has to be there to take the calls," Stecker said.

State representatives, in Des Moines, have heard the concerns from EMS providers, like Stecker, and said it is a discussion going on at the Capitol.

"We're just trying to get our arms around the issue, so we can address it in a proper manner," Iowa Representative Chuck Soderberg, of Le Mars, Iowa said.

Soderberg said there's talks about finding ways to offset the cost of required education courses for those who work for ambulance services.

Courses can range anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.

He said they're also looking in to Medicaid reimbursements, and additional tax credits.

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