Congressman Bruce Westerman dropped by Pafford EMS today to personally thank the entire team for their service, from first responders to billing personal in working the front lines during the COVID -19 pandemic.
Senator Westerman spent some time listening and learning about the struggles that Pafford EMS has faced during this pandemic. He seemed very grateful for their efforts in adapting during this very challenging time.
“We have to go back to DC on Saturday but fortunately I’ve got time to get out and thank a lot of the un-sung heroes from the pandemic and the paramedics here at Pafford, Life-Net and all the places across the district that provide these services. They’re really on the front lines, they’re the ones that are having to go out and treat every patient like they could have the coronavirus and they have not got the recognition that the doctors and the nurses have gotten. We think the pandemic is bad, but if you just took, for instance, truck drivers and they decided not to go do their job for a few days, there would be pandemonium in the cities and really all across the country as the grocery stores run out of food and those sort of things, so we can’t say thank you enough to the people that are on the front lines taking the risks so that life can go on,” Congressman Westerman said.
Jamie Pafford – Gresham, CEO of Pafford EMS, spoke with Westerman about issues related to funding for the ambulance service during the COVID -19 pandemic. One of the main topics on the table was not being reimbursed for certain calls their team responds to, such as, a patient needing their heart checked, a diabetic that just needs a shot, a patient with a blood pressure issue or a patient that is just dizzy. Gresham stated “We do not get reimbursed for the time spent treating that patient because we don’t get paid unless the wheels on the ambulance are rolling to the hospital.”
Gresham said that over the past couple of days they’ve discussed how COVID has changed the daily life of EMS professionals with some of the congressional delegates, trying to get their message to Washington, DC. “Paramedics have pretty much been on the front lines since day one. The ambulance industry has not been properly funded up to this point, we’ve asked to receive less than one percent of the over all budget that has gone out, when there is no doubt that we are doing the lions share of the work,” Gresham said.
“These guys get in a 10×10 box with COVID positive patients or presumptive COVID positive patients and put their lives on the line in an uncontrolled environment. Whether they are going into the homes of someone or into some of the facilities, it needs to be recognized,” she added.
Gresham went on to say that the EMS industry is asking for about 3 billion dollars of the one hundred and seventy-five billion that is out there for health care providers. That funding is what they will need to make sure that they can keep going as the pandemic continues. “It didn’t stop, it hasn’t stopped and our work load has actually gotten worse, not better,” Gresham said.
Gresham was very appreciative of the Congressmen and their staff for taking the time out of their busy schedules to visit with the ambulance crews and billing staff about the hardships they have been facing over the last several months.
“I think it is a great thing for them to take them time to come do this, take the time to understand what an ambulance provider actually provides for their community and that we are not just ambulance drivers. We are EMS professionals. I am very thankful for the job that our paramedics have done during this time. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty. I can’t sing their praises enough and they don’t ever complain, that’s the best part about it, they just do what they have to do and go right on.” Gresham said.
While Westerman was there he presented Pafford EMS with a document of Congressional Record honoring Pafford Medical Services for their exceptional service during COVID-19.