The Texas EMS Alliance (TEMSA) announced American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding priorities for the state of Texas to address the workforce shortage crisis that Texas EMS agencies are facing.
EMS professionals are leaving the field at a higher rate than ever due to burnout, the risk of Covid-19 exposure and new career opportunities outside of traditional EMS that are able to offer higher salaries. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recently released data indicating that only 27 percent of licensed Texas EMS professionals submitted a patient care report during the first eight months of 2021. Over 70 percent of eligible Texas EMS professionals did not work on an ambulance during the first eight months of 2021. To make a bad situation worse, Texas EMS agencies are not finding enough new EMS personnel to fill the vacancies.
While other areas of health care have seen relief in the form of state-supported staffing, Texas EMS agencies have rarely experienced similar relief. At this critical time, Texas EMS agencies must keep ambulances responding to 911 calls and supporting the health care infrastructure by moving critical patients from hospital to hospital.
The Texas Legislature can strengthen the EMS infrastructure in Texas by supporting efforts to bring more individuals into the EMS industry, and these initiatives include:
- Funding for a campaign to educate the Texas public about EMS careers, the high demand for EMS personnel and the opportunities for EMS education.
- Funding to support IT infrastructure to direct candidates to education programs and employment opportunities, as well as provide online information about the high demand for EMS professionals and explaining the education requirements.
- Funding to incentivize EMS education programs in rural and underserved areas to increase their production of the EMS workforce.
- Funding within each regional advisory council (RAC) for an EMS workforce development position to promote and recruit EMS professionals into the field with an emphasis on regional needs.
- Increasing access to EMS education through a distance learning program provided by an accredited college program, and the funding would be used to acquire equipment and to and to support regional hands-on skills training sessions.
- Offering tuition repayment for EMS professionals in one of two different scenarios. 1) Working for an ambulance service for one year for as an EMT and two years as an advanced EMT. 2) Working as a paramedic in rural, frontier or medically underserved area after achieving certification.
Click here to read TEMSA’s recommendations for the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott: