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Iowa county voters make EMS an essential service

Voters in Cedar County approved a measure funding a countywide ambulance service

By Bill Carey

CEDAR COUNTY, Iowa — Voters in Cedar County have designated EMS as an essential service after an election on Nov. 7.

Residents in Cedar County have been calling for EMS improvements for over a year. The measure passed with overwhelming support, CBS 2 Iowa reported.

Cedar County EMS backed the ballot measure, pointing out frustrations voters have with the underfunded system, including high billing fees, personnel concerns, lack of training and inconsistent response times.

“It was brought to our attention that there was a lot of calls not being taken and had to have a second, third, sometimes fourth ambulance service page to cover a call,” Cedar County Board of Supervisors Bruce Barnhart said.

The new voter-approved funding will go towards a countywide paid service with two full-time ambulances staffed around the clock and an additional ambulance staffed by administrative personnel, to augment the county’s volunteer-based services.