NY EMS trainees face certification limbo

Ambulance services experience staffing shortage as providers wait for national certification


By Jessie Forand

SARATOGA, N.Y. — With COVID-19 restrictions beginning to lift, ambulance services throughout New York are struggling to find workers.

Spectrum News 1 reported that people wanting jobs are struggling, too. During the pandemic, EMS-hopefuls were allowed to take either a state or national exam to earn certification.

As people wait for their EMS certification to be granted, service providers are stretched thin.
As people wait for their EMS certification to be granted, service providers are stretched thin. (Photo/United New York Ambulance Network)

Now they are waiting for certification after taking the national exam.

Without certified employees, ambulance services are stretched thin.

"The thing that compounds that right now is we have this huge personnel and staffing shortage across the country, particularly prevailing here in New York," said Mike McEvoy, the Saratoga EMS coordinator. "In many cases, it means people can't answer calls because they're not able to find people to fill the openings that they have – and that's significant."

State lawmakers are now hoping to fix the issue quickly. Republican Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, of Ballston, told Spectrum News 1, “Things like this, particularly related to public health and public safety, we can't allow it fall through the cracks.”

She hopes health officials will allow EMTs to be certified under either test, as she said 200-400 people “are just in limbo.”

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