Mercy EMS talks shortages

CALUMET — Mercy EMS executive leadership met Friday to discuss staffing shortages and the possible impact on long-distance emergency ground ambulance transportation.

The board of directors of Mercy EMS (Emergency Medical Services) assure the community that while the paramedic staffing shortage is a reality, it will not impact local emergency transport services to Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital or UP Health System Portage.

To address the staffing shortage, short term and long term solutions were discussed.

For the short-term, as Mercy EMS deals with staffing issues, local 911 Ambulance transport to the nearest hospital emergency room take priority. For serious and time-sensitive emergencies which require the patient to be transported out of the area, while ground is generally the first choice, air transport via helicopter and fixed wing aircraft is available and may be used more extensively until staffing shortages are stabilized.

For patients who require long-distance ground transportation, Mercy EMS will work with other providers of ground transport from the region. Mercy EMS has been in contact with Marquette EMS, Integrity EMS Iron Mountain and Aspirus MedEvac, Ontonagon. All have volunteered to assist with long-distance ground transport when their resources allow for such support. Mercy EMS will continue to work with all regional providers to ensure that essential transports are available.

In the long term, Mercy EMS is engaging in a staffing stabilization plan which will work to rebuild staff to appropriate levels using an array of personnel strategies. The plans were discussed with the board today and approved for immediate action.

While the shortage is consistent with national trends, Mercy EMS remains confident that critical emergency transport services will be provided well into the future.