Wyoming’s demand for emergency medical services has grown drastically over the recent decades, and the state health department doesn’t expect it to stop.
The Wyoming Department of Health says that state EMS personnel have seen a 28-percent increase in emergency calls over the last six years.
State EMS Administrator Andy Gienapp attributes that to aging Baby Boomers, and seniors living longer. He says decades ago, EMS workers simply transported patients to the hospital, but now EMTs and paramedics are trained to provide care to patients and make judgments about where to take them for treatment.
Gienapp says he thinks EMS workers could become even more integral to healthcare, especially in remote rural areas, even though they won’t replace doctors.
“Think of it more of a primary care provider or a clinic being able to extend its reach into some previously unreachable areas, or difficult areas to reach.”
For example, an EMT might be able to make a follow-up visit with a patient after seeing a doctor.
Gienapp says 70 percent of Wyoming’s EMS workers are volunteers, but the state needs more of them. He hopes localities will make plans to recruit, reimburse and support E-M-S workers in their area.