The nation’s EMS system is facing a crippling workforce shortage, a long-term problem that has been building for more than a decade. It threatens to undermine our emergency 9-1-1 infrastructure and deserves urgent attention by Congress.
The most sweeping survey of its kind — involving nearly 20,000 employees working at 258 EMS organizations — found that overall turnover among paramedics and EMTs ranges from 20 to 30 percent annually. With percentages that high, ambulance services face 100 percent turnover over a four-year period. Staffing shortages compromise our ability to respond to health care emergencies, especially in rural and underserved parts of the country. The pandemic exacerbated this shortage and highlighted the need to better understand the drivers of workforce turnover.