Local EMS companies' massive debt causing loss of paramedics, ambulances

Some local EMS companies are deep in debt and there’s concern that someone will call 911 and nobody will be able to help. The Fayette EMS chief told Channel 11 that they have $850,000 in unpaid patient bills, and by the end of 2019, that number will likely top $1 million. https://bit.ly/375I5zw Subscribe to WPXI: https://on.wpxi.com/YouTube Connect with WPXI online: https://www.wpxi.com/ Download our FREE apps: https://wpxiapps.com/

Some local EMS companies are deep in debt and there's concern that someone will call 911 and nobody will be able to help.

The Fayette EMS chief told Channel 11 that they have $850,000 in unpaid patient bills, and by the end of 2019, that number will likely top $1 million.

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They're so financially strapped that they're losing paramedics and EMTs. They're down several ambulances because thousands of patients cannot afford to pay.

"Seventy percent of our population is either Medicare or Medicaid and neither cover the cost of a transport," said Chief Rick Adobato, Fayette EMS.

Adobato said most patients in Fayette County are choosing low-cost health insurance plans and may not know that ambulance rides aren't covered.

A bipartisan commission created to recommend improvements to emergency services in Pennsylvania released a report last year that confirmed fire and EMS services are "in crisis."

The report said, "While the general assembly has worked to address a number of these challenges, more can and must be done."

"We need to come up with a sustainable fix in Fayette County and across the state," Adobato said. "It's not just us. It's everywhere and this formula isn't working."

Channel 11 also talked to Rostraver EMS. While they are significantly smaller than Fayette County, they are owed $750,000.

To read the full report, click here.

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