COVID-19 takes EMS shortage to crisis levels in Louisiana

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — COVID-19 is taking the EMS worker shortage to crisis levels in Louisiana.

“The emergency departments are backed up. Hospitals are taking on more cases because of, unfortunately, the unvaccinated, and now we’re getting ready to knock on the door of flu season,” said Director of Operations for Acadian Ambulance Service Taylor Porter.

The shortage of workers has been a problem for years, but when the pandemic hit, services were slammed with calls and illnesses. Some workers said the pay was not worth the risk. Many services said more workers have quit since the surge of new cases, citing health concerns. Others are experiencing burnout from the workload.

To quickly fill vacancies, Acadian Ambulance Service is offering accelerated courses, free tuition and paying people while they attend classes.

“We will pay them to go to class, and we’ll pay their tuition and all we’re asking for is a three-year return of service,” said Porter.

Recruiters are doing whatever it takes to find candidates.

“We are going out to the neighborhoods and knocking on doors. We’re pounding the pavement. We’re going to churches and all types of diversity organizations,” said Porter.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission is helping cover some of the free tuition and some services have asked for federal assistance.

If you’re interested in applying with Acadian, click here.

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