Ambulance companies in Chester County are struggling to stay afloat as their resources are strained by an aging population, growing number of senior living facilities, the opioid crisis, and the rising cost of equipment, writes Erin McCarthy for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Emergency responders are especially worried since a statewide report was published last year that declared a public safety crisis.
“We’re actually beyond crisis mode,” said Beau Crowding, the deputy director of the Chester County Department of Emergency Services who worked on the report.
The modern EMS systems are also seeing fewer volunteers and struggle to get paid for many calls, as commercial insurance companies send reimbursement checks for out-of-network service directly to patients.
Meanwhile, people being helped are usually not happy with the bill they receive, as many wrongly assume the service is free for taxpayers. However, local ambulance companies primarily rely on billing, donations, and limited municipal support.
This is why fire and EMS squads are reaching out to residents to educate them on their work and how it is financed.
Berwyn Fire Company will hold several town hall meetings throughout June, while Good Fellowship Ambulance Company in West Chester will host open houses later during National EMS Week.
Read more about the plight of local ambulance companies in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.