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Ohio city cuts paramedic staffing during non-emergency transports

Instead of two paramedics handling a non-emergency transport, one paramedic will be paired with an EMT during each transport

By Beth Burger
The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Division of Fire will send one paramedic instead of two on non-emergency calls starting in the spring, city officials announced on Friday.

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, Columbus Division of Fire Chief Kevin O’Connor and David Keseg, division medical director, said the change will be made because one paramedic usually takes care of non-patient issues, such as driving.

The new system will pair an emergency medical technician with a paramedic.

“Because every firefighter is trained to at least the EMT level of certification, the new system reduces the demands on paramedics, while still ensuring the highest quality of patient care to our residents,” the city said in a release.

The changes were announced at Station 15 on Livingston Avenue, one of the busiest in the city.

“Our current EMS system was not designed for the tremendous growth in population Columbus has experienced over the last 20 years which, combined with an aging population and significant public health challenges, have caused a tremendous increase in EMS calls for service,” Ginther said in a statement. “This structural change allows us to expand emergency medical services now and into the future. Investing in our public safety forces is my top priority, including new investments in personnel, apparatus and fire stations.”

Copyright 2016 The Columbus Dispatch

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