Call to Action: Hazard Pay Grant Update
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) closed and awarded these grants as of Friday. There was NO notification to those who did not receive the grant, just a publication on the DCED website. NO EMS AGENCY received any of the grant dollars as they incorrectly assumed that EMS was eligible for other funding (paraphrased from a communication from DCED). DCED NEVER contacted the Bureau of EMS or the Department of Health for information about EMS.
EMS is CONTINUALLY RESPONDING AND CONSTANTLY FORGOTTEN!
It is time to write to YOUR local press, legislators as well as the Governor's office to let them know that we have been forgotten, yet again!
Below is the text of the Opening letter that was sent to the media, legislature as well as in a letter to the Governor.
For your letter to the Governor:
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
CONTINUALLY RESPONDING AND CONSTANTLY FORGOTTEN
An Open Letter to Governor Wolf and the General Assembly
On July 30, 2020 Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health Levine visited the Millersville location of Lancaster EMS to laud the response of the Commonwealth's EMS providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. "During the pandemic, our emergency responders have become more important than ever," Gov. Wolf said. "They have been out on the front lines of this fight, helping attend to COVID-19 patients in their most dire time of need. They have had to adapt their practices to keep themselves and their patients safe, all while continuing to serve as a lifeline to their communities and support the health care system."
While the visit and remarks at that time was appreciated, it is the actions of the Governor's Administration and the General Assembly of this Commonwealth that prove that the essential frontline EMS providers in this war on the pandemic are merely political talking points.
The latest frustration to address the financial, physical and emotional concerns facing EMS providers daily was the failure of the Department of Community and Economic Development to award NOT ONE EMS Agency who applied under the Governor's Hazard Pay Grant.
- EMS providers are essential workers who are the frontline of this pandemic
- EMS providers face the highest exposure to asymptomatic, presumptive and positive COVID-19 patients on EVERY CALL, EVERY DAY
- EMS providers have contracted COVID-19 and several in this Commonwealth have DIED
- EMS providers are some of the lowest paid healthcare workers fighting this pandemic
- EMS Agencies have struggled financially from lost revenue, daily increased PPE costs and increased payroll costs
The Hazard Pay Grant was an opportunity to help EMS Agencies compensate our EMS providers for the daily physical and emotional toil of fighting this pandemic. EMS providers do not only treat COVID-19 and other patients but are an essential keystone in preventing the spread of the virus to other patients and the hospital system through proper infectious control procedure and relentless sanitization.
It is time for the Governor and the General Assembly to heed our warnings and address the financial, physical and emotional concerns facing EMS providers and EMS Agencies in this Commonwealth. Efforts to prevent the failure of our entire EMS System should be the main concern of local and state government.
Emergency Medical Services, the healthcare safety net and first line of defense in the treatment and prevention of the spread of COVID-19, deserves the financial support of the Governor and the General Assembly. We are continually responding and constantly forgotten.
Dean A. Bollendorf
Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania
(717) 512-5609 (office)