Eight parishes in Central Pa. are working on solving the EMS crisis

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – In a bid to address the area’s emergency services crisis, eight communities in north-west Lancaster came together to create a unique solution.

The EMS crisis became very clear to the North West Lancaster region back in 2018 as local authorities found themselves at a crossroads over the future of the provision of emergency services to the surrounding community. Many emergency services in the area have had trouble maintaining these services for the following reasons:

  • rising costs
  • funding gaps
  • HR challenges

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To put this in perspective, even Northwest Lancaster County’s Northwestern EMS was named 2020 Pennsylvania EMS Agency of the Year Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Councilfaced serious problems due to insufficient revenue and rising costs.

“Although Northwest EMS is widely known for its excellent service, less than half of the city’s residents contribute to the organization through subscriptions,” said Marc Hershey, president of Elizabethtown Borough Council and chair of the committee of community leaders who met to promote the local to tackle the EMS crisis. “The average gap between gross billings and insurance payments averaged over $4 million per year. And rising spending on equipment, fuel, certifications, training and benefits took a heavy toll. In short, the municipalities in our region needed a bold solution to continue to meet their legal obligation to keep the emergency services on standby.”

In an attempt to solve the problems of emergency services, eight municipalities joined forces to form the first tariff-setting regional municipal emergency services agency in Pennsylvania. The eight municipalities that have combined to form this authority are:

  1. Municipality of Conoy
  2. Parish of East Donegal
  3. Elizabethtown neighborhood
  4. Elizabeth congregation
  5. Marietta district
  6. Mount Joy community
  7. Penn community
  8. West Donegal parish

Beginning in 2021, a committee began investigating and investigating solutions to this crisis, and after conducting analysis, they believed that creating a regional municipal emergency services agency under the Pennsylvania Municipality Authorities Act to fund and provide emergency services was the best option .

According to the newly formed Lancaster County Municipal Emergency Services Agency, after several months of committee-led public meetings, educational initiatives and a public hearing, the eight municipalities issued ordinances establishing the Lancaster County Municipal Emergency Services Agency — which was formally incorporated Feb. 7.

The board of the newly founded authority consists of representatives of the respective founding communities. According to the Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County, this body is responsible for setting agency services and fees.

According to the Lancaster County Municipal Emergency Services Agency, the new annual services and fees for property owners are expected to be the same Northwest EMS Subscription Feesthese are currently:

  • Individual Membership: $40.00 per year
  • Couple Membership: $50.00 per year
  • family membership: $60.00 per year
  • Seniors (65+) individual membership: $35.00 per year
  • Senior (65+) couple membership: $45.00 per year
  • Business (<50 employees) Membership: $75.00 per year
  • Business (>50 employees) Membership: $150.00 per year

“We hope that Lancaster County’s Municipal Emergency Services Authority will serve as a model for other Pennsylvania communities facing an EMS crisis,” Hershey added. “It was hard work paving the way to this solution, but there was never any question that a community-led solution was needed. EMS is an essential public service. As community leaders, we recognize that we don’t have to solve this problem just to meet our legal obligation. We had to solve this together, potentially saving the lives of our neighbors, family and friends.”

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The newly formed agency will begin holding board meetings in March, and a public hearing is expected in late summer to discuss the agency’s services and fee structure.

For more information about the newly formed agency, visit their website at click here.

The agency plans to be fully operational by early 2024.

https://www.abc27.com/news/health/eight-central-pa-municipalities-work-to-solve-the-ems-crisis/ Eight parishes in Central Pa. are working on solving the EMS crisis

Brian Ashcraft

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