COVID-19 restrictions lead to pay cuts for Cincinnati EMS providers, doctors

The president of one EMS agency in the city said a reduction in non-emergency transports has significantly impacted revenue

By Laura French

CINCINNATI — Several EMTs, paramedics and doctors in Cincinnati are facing pay cuts due to what officials say is a decrease in demand and productivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

EMS providers at First Care Ohio have had their pay reduced by 10% because of a decrease in non-emergency calls that has impacted revenue, First Care President Dennis Young told WCPO.

Young said the agency is no longer making hospital transports for elective procedures or transporting nursing home residents between facilities, and the lack of income from these transports led the company to try to reduce costs. Young also said some employees, though not EMTs or paramedics, have been laid off.

A First Care staff member, who was not identified, told WCPO that employees are “devastated” by the measures the company has taken.

“We’re striving to help your families in this time of need,” the employee wrote in an email. “Now some (of) your loved ones may not get that ride to the hospital they need.”

Doctors at Mercy Health are also facing pay cuts of up to 30% if their “productivity declined significantly,” according to an email the hospital sent to doctors last week.

“We know this could have a significant impact on your bi-weekly take-home pay; however we need to maintain fair market controls … While no one can predict when the pandemic will end and business will return to normal, we do anticipate many of your will be able to rebound and recover a large portion of any lost productivity in the months that follow,” the email said.

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