Will Rural Siouxland Communities suffer after Siouxland Paramedics evaluates sustainability

Sioux City residents will continue to see the best in Emergency Service response that it’s used to in Sioux City. For years Sioux City Fire Rescue has responded along with Siouxland Paramedics to every 911 medical call in Sioux City. No matter how the "transition" unfolds Sioux City residents can rest assured their calls for service will be answered.

Sioux City Fire Rescue often is closer to scenes and with 7 stations, its 32 paramedics, 24 Advanced EMTs, and 54 EMTs they have the capabilities to provide medical care until an ambulance arrives. Siouxland Paramedic staffs 3 ambulances with 2 crew members, usually a Paramedic and an EMT throughout Sioux City and North Sioux City. Additionally, an additional paramedic on each shift as the supervisor. An additional backup ambulance is housed at Fire Station #3 and manned on an as needed basis by Sioux City Fire Rescue. Siouxland Paramedics also have on-call staff that is called in when all ambulances in the city are on calls.

Firefighters not only provide first responder services but many times are needed to help provide medical services with Siouxland Paramedics including treating, moving, loading and transporting patients to the hospital. Siouxland Paramedics is the primary EMS provider in Sioux City and North Sioux City. They also often provide advanced medical services to surrounding Siouxland agencies. These agencies don’t have full-time paramedics, they many times are made up of all volunteer departments and while they will leave whatever they are doing to render aide in your emergency, they aren’t certified or able to provide you all the services you may need, in those cases Siouxland Paramedics responds to assist.

Without Siouxland Paramedics, or a similarly trained and staffed agency those surrounding communities will be left without Paramedic level services. Paramedic service is vital in many emergency situations for their advanced life-saving abilities. In an emergency, time is often the most important aspect of the outcome of the incident. The longer it takes for advanced life-saving services to arrive, the lesser your chance at recovery. Rural agencies have increasingly struggled over the years to maintain not only enough volunteers but properly trained and certified volunteers to run their ambulances services.

Siouxland Paramedics, a local non-profit ambulance service provides a service that is in demand and is expensive to operate. Like any business, it must maintain fiscal sustainability in order to operate. With medical services costs across the country rising because of equipment, training, payroll, insurance, regulation, and other costs associated and money coming in dwindling because patients are unable to pay and insurance companies refusing to pay, the end result is communities see those services go away or join with similar services.

When you call 911 and people respond to your door, they aren’t there to make money, some are employees doing a paid job, some are volunteers, but none are counting up your bill. The people they work for however, may be in order to continue providing services. Non-Profit and For-Profit businesses alike must be able to financially sustain operations or they will cease to exist. Siouxland Paramedics employs 57 individuals, 31 full time, 1 part time and 25 contingent.

In a release on Wednesday, Siouxland Paramedics says due to the increasingly difficult financial environment they have begun dialog with Sioux City to transition emergency medical ambulance services to a more sustainable model by January 1st, 2018. They first entered into agreements with Sioux City and North Sioux City in 2000 to provide emergency medical services to their communities. In the discussions, they are asking the City of Sioux City for greater involvement to ensure stable, quality, efficient emergency ambulance services.

Specific information about what this means is still not available. Is Siouxland Paramedics asking the city for more money or are they closing? If they are closing what will the communities outside of Sioux City that rely on them do? Who will transfer patients to hospitals outside of the city? Who will return patients to nursing homes and other facilities from the hospital? Who will transport patients from facilities to the cancer center for their regular treatments? In addition to responding to 911 calls for help Siouxland Paramedics does many non-emergent transfers in and out of Siouxland. Siouxland Paramedics has operated in Siouxland since its creation in 1982 and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services.

According to Charity Check 101 in fiscal year 2016 Siouxland Paramedics had a valid 501(c)(3), reported total assets of $2,019,163 and total revenues of $3,336,355

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