COVID-19 takes EMS worker shortage to ‘crisis level’: American ambulance association president

American Ambulance Association president Shawn Baird warned that the coronavirus pandemic took the shortage of emergency medical providers (EMS) staff to a “crisis level,” explaining that the issue threatens to undermine the nation’s 911 system and wishes pressing consideration by Congress. 

“This has been a problem that has that been developing over several years because of chronic underfunding shortfalls from Congress for ambulance services, but certainly during the pandemic things have hit a crisis level,” Baird informed “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday. 

 “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of workforce attrition and schools had shut down paramedic training institutions and stopped graduating new students for the last year so we’re suddenly in a severe shortfall.”

The American Ambulance Association despatched a letter to House and Senate management saying the “nation’s EMS system is facing a crippling workforce shortage,” additionally explaining that it was “a long-term problem that has been building for more than a decade.” 

“It threatens to undermine our emergency 9-1-1 infrastructure and deserves urgent attention by the Congress,” the letter continued. 

Baird famous that the association has some options “to put forward to Congress” and members hope lawmakers “can take some action.”


According to the AAA/Avesta 2019 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study, turnover for EMTs and paramedics was within the 20 to 30% vary for EMTs and paramedics, which Baird identified on Sunday has solely accelerated because the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

He informed host Pete Hegseth that different components, like people who boosted unemployment advantages through the pandemic and different profession choices which might be extra profitable, have contributed to the turnover. 

“This is a very high stress job and some people don’t realize what they’re getting into,” Baird stated. 

He additionally famous that those that didn’t depart the job had been “under an incredible workload,” due to vacancies and the pandemic, in addition to wildfires and different pure disasters. 

“A number of paramedics and others are just saying they’ve reached the end of their limit because they’re working a lot of overtime when other people have left the field and they’re leaving as well, taking other opportunities,” Baird informed Hegseth. 

“Half of the people who leave don’t leave to go to another employer, they leave the field entirely,” he continued. “So we have to reverse that trend. We have to basically stop the bleed of our own employees.” 

Baird then mentioned three attainable options, which included recognizing “those that are sticking with the field” by means of a cost bonus. 

“We’re asking for an American hero one-time payment and having Congress take some action to get funding to the states to be able to recognize the men and women who have stuck this out and have done such a great job for us,” Baird stated.

He pointed to Florida for instance. 

In May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced a $1,000 one-time bonus for about 174,000 first responders, together with paramedics and EMTs throughout the state to acknowledge their exhausting work through the pandemic. 

Baird added that coaching and work drive growth applications are wanted and famous that veterans could be good individuals to recruit for these applications. 


“These folks take care of people who’ve had terrible injuries on the battlefield,” Baird stated. “We need them when they come home to be able to get a job.” 

Fox News’ Breck Dumas contributed to this report. 

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