Central EMS committee mulls budget increase, staff pay and workload

Posted: November 24, 2017 at 1:08 a.m.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Felicia Young (right) and Reva McGourty, both dispatchers with Central EMS, answer calls Tuesday in the dispatch area of Station One in Fayetteville. A draft proposal for the regional ambulance service will raise the expenditures by more than $1 million for next year. The plan is to hire nine more employees and get a new ambulance, but some executive committee members wonder if those new positions should be postponed to pay for pay raises. Central EMS underpays its paramedics and EMTs by about 6 percent compared with surrounding competitors.

Central EMS officials want a 2018 budget that recruits and retains emergency workers. The key is to pay employees a competitive rate and reduce their heavy workload, said Steve Harrison, assistant chief.

Ambulance coverage

Central Emergency Medical Service covers 920 square miles in Washington County, including Fayetteville, Elkins, Farmington, Goshen, Greenland, Lincoln, Prairie Grove, Tontitown, Johnson, West Fork and Winslow. The service doesn’t cover Springdale.

Source: Staff report

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