Trending Topics

Dismissal of EMS chief highlights on staffing and budget woes

EMS Chief Peggy Fonseca was fired due to budget overages and personally responding to calls

What happened: Jeff Davis County (Texas) EMS Chief Peggy Fonseca was dismissed and escorted out of the courtroom by law enforcement following a period of political discord over EMS staffing and budget concerns. County commissioners criticized Fonseca for personally responding to ambulance calls, to which she replied it was necessary due to staffing shortages.

The case highlights nationwide challenges in balancing volunteer and paid EMS services.

| More: Texas officials fire EMS director over lack of volunteers, OT costs and responding to calls

Top takeaways

  1. Budget concerns: Peggy Fonseca was fired due to budget overages associated with a hybrid volunteer and paid staffing model
  2. Previous incident: Fonseca was previously reprimanded for failing to administer CPR, but returned to duty after remediation
  3. Staffing shortages: A significant drop in volunteerism is causing increased reliance on paid staff, leading to higher costs
  4. National issue: The challenges faced in Jeff Davis County reflect broader problems across the U.S., including low wages for EMS workers and insufficient funding
  5. Call for action: There is a need for state or federal intervention to address EMS staffing shortages and funding issues.

Memorable quotes

  • “If we don’t have enough providers, we’re not going to be able to get out to the calls that we want. And if we can’t get out to the calls, people are not going to get better and people are going to die over it.”
  • “Increasing the paid staff is obviously going to increase the need for funding and for money.”
  • “If we’re going to continue to provide these services, something that we’re going to have to start to realize and accept is that EMS as a service cannot be a money-making entity.”

This EMS1 insider analysis is brought to you by EMS1 and The Overrun podcast. Subscribe now to The Overrun on your favorite podcast platform and be part of the EMS community that’s always prepared to respond, no matter the emergency.

EMS1 is using generative AI to create some content that is edited and fact-checked by our editors.

Dive into the pulse-pounding world of emergency medical services (EMS) with The Overrun, your go-to source for all things life-saving. Hosted by The Overrun Team, a group that includes ground and flight paramedics, critical care transport nurses, emergency medical technicians and mental health professionals with years of experience on the front lines, each episode takes you behind the sirens to explore bleeding-edge prehospital care, expert interviews with EMS professionals, and in-depth discussions on issues that matter to prehospital clinicians.

Whether you’re an EMS veteran, a healthcare enthusiast or simply curious about the heroes in the ambulances, The Overrun delivers compelling content that educates, entertains and inspires. Join us as we unravel the mysteries of emergency medicine, share invaluable insights, and celebrate the unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to saving others.

Subscribe now to The Overrun on your favorite podcast platform and be part of the EMS community that’s always prepared to respond, no matter the emergency.

Ed Bauter, MBA, MHL, NRP, FP-C, CCP-C

Ed is a managing partner and chief executive officer of Overrun Productions, LLC; and co-host of The Overrun Podcast. Ed is a recovering medical student and paramedic.

His academic interests are in healthcare policy, team leadership and development, resuscitation and EMS medicine. Before attending medical school, he was a field preceptor and EMS educator for 10 years.

A second-generation paramedic, Ed works to inform the public about the importance of EMS and strives to encourage other EMS providers to move the profession forward using the most up-to-date data and technology.

He is a fan of old movies, the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Daniel Schwester, MICP

Daniel Schwester has been a paramedic since 2000. He has served in a variety of roles including education, field training, clinical supervision and active practice as a paramedic.

He is the managing partner of Overrun Productions, LLC; and a co-host of The Overrun Podcast.

He is married to Jennifer, and is father to Caroline and William. He resides in Toms River, New Jersey.