A local hospital in Union County is introducing a new way to provide health services to the community.
It comes after leaders say they have long seen a need for a new collaborative effort for emergency services in the area.
Evangelical Community Hospital is kicking off the establishment of their new regional mobile medical services. This is something that has been in the works for nearly two years now.
Staffing shortages in emergency medical services have taxed the response system across the nation. That’s why leaders at Evangelical Community Hospital decided to make a change locally.
“What we were finding was that many companies are saying it’s not enough. We have two, three guys keeping the company going and communities are really proud of their ambulance companies and they want to see them continue, but it’s getting harder and harder to do that,” Evangelical Community Hospital president and CEO Kendra Aucker said.
The new Evangelical Regional Mobile Medical Services, which will be known as ERMMS, is a new subsidiary nonprofit corporation owned by the hospital. A department of the hospital formerly known as pre-hospital services, will no longer exist and all staff from that department including paramedics and EMTs will move to ERMMS instead.
“This just gives us the opportunity to brand differently and to be able to help communities that want support of their ambulance companies in other ways,” Aucker said.
Mifflinburg Ambulance Company is the first strategic partner to join the organization.
“We saw a little bit of a decline in volunteers over the last few years and so we think that this is a really great opportunity to provide the best care to the community that we absolutely can,” Mifflinburg Ambulance Company Matthew Walter said.
The community agrees.
“I think it’s great. I know a lot of people use the ambulance. I think it’s a good ambulance service and it’s going to provide an opportunity for the community to use the ambulance when they need it,” Mifflinburg resident Judith Blair said.
The more on board, the quicker the response time will be for calls.
“We just want to make sure that when people call 911, they have somebody showing up at their front doorstep, that it doesn’t take 15, 20, 30 minutes for an ambulance to show up,” Walter said.
“There are many diseases that you could die from if you do not get care immediately,” Blair said.
ERMMS officials say the system works like any other emergency response medical service. It’s up to each person’s insurance carrier to decide what and how much is covered under their plan.
Leaders at Evangelical Community Hospital say if other entities have an interest in joining, they are looking forward to those conversations. However, they will continue to work with all of the area’s EMS organizations in the same manner they currently do, whether they are part of the new entity or not.