JACKSON, Miss — EMTs and medics can now assist with patients inside hospitals under a new health order in Mississippi. The order was issued this week in an effort to help with staffing shortages.
This health order is designed to give hospitals like Methodist Olive Branch Hospital and Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto more manpower in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic that’s resulting in longer wait times for both COVID and non-COVID patients.
“Our teams are heroes and they’re working a lot as well,” said Eric Messer, the vice president of operations at Priority Ambulance. “These guys are working 24-hour shifts and many times they don’t get any downtime during that 24-hour shift.”
Priority Ambulance has a partnership with Baptist Memorial Healthcare. Messer said the new Mississippi State Department of Health order will alleviate the current pressures on hospital staff.
“We’re going to do our part and work with our partners Baptist Memorial Healthcare to allow our team to if they want to work with Baptist Memorial Healthcare, (in) the ERs to help with the ambulance load,” Messer said.
Messer explained that there’s a shortage of EMTs and paramedics across the country, including in the magnolia state.
“The hospitals are short staffed and by the state giving paramedics the authority to actually operate inside a hospital when they’re not on the ambulance just kind of gives them another avenue to help treat patients,” said DeSoto County EMS Director Mark Davis.
Davis said to his knowledge this is the first time such a health order concerning EMTs in Mississippi has been issued.
“The hope is that by adding some additional staff it’ll help cut down the wait times,” said Davis. “We’re waiting at hospitals for hours at a time right now on the wall trying to get beds.”