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LETTER TO THE EDITOR -- "EMS Services Impacted by COVID Pandemic – Seeking Subscribers." -- 31 August 2020
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EMS Services Impacted by COVID Pandemic – Seeking Subscribers.

Dear Editor,

Tri-Community South EMS is facing many changes and challenges as we operate in this new Covid 19 environment.

An ongoing challenge has been Medicare and most health insurances reimburse EMS as a transportation benefit which means the Ambulance must transport the patient to a hospital ED to receive payment. If we do not transport, we receive no reimbursement. Additionally, some health insurers send the payment check to the patient and many patients cash the check and keep the money meant to go to the EMS agency

With the onset of the Covid 19 Pandemic, EMS call volumes have decreased by as much as 40% which means a significant loss of revenue. We have to maintain readiness 24 hours a day 7 days a week, provide training, equipment, and supplies and the loss of revenue makes it very challenging. It costs around $950 before we open the door to leave on a call and the reimbursement we receive does not cover the cost of going on the call in most cases

There is very little state or federal funding to offset the cost of the care we provide.

Although we are owned and operated by Bethel Park, South Park and Upper St Clair, we receive no funding from those municipalities and rely on our subscriptions and call reimbursements to maintain our budget. However - less than 20% of residents subscribe to our system.

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, we have the added burden of suppling personnel protective equipment for our staff to use on every call and disinfection supplies for the staff, ambulances, equipment and EMS bases plus the hazard of the possible Covid exposure with the patients we see. And our employees to qualify for the hazard pay incentive.

We continually update our procedures with the latest standards and guidelines to keep our staff and residents safe.

As you can see, there are many changes and challenges that EMS systems face but rest assured we at Tri-Community South EMS are doing everything we can to be there when you need us so please support us and become a subscriber. For more information go to

John Bower, EMT P
Paramedic Supervisor
Tri-Community South EMS




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