Senators Marshall, Moran Announce Funding for Reno County Emergency Medical Services
(Hutchinson, K.S., September 17, 2021) – U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. and Jerry Moran announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Reno County nearly $200,000 to build up emergency medical services in their rural communities. Recruitment and retention of quality personnel is the number one issue facing EMS today.
“EMS technicians are vital in providing pre-hospital treatment, and their level of care often is the difference between life and death,” said Senator Marshall. “In addition to emergency incidents, EMS providers are facing other public health issues, such as COVID-19, illegal and prescription drug misuse, and mental health crises. Increased training and other proactive measures will help these health care heroes improve their skillsets and reduce burnout.”
“Too often rural communities lack access to resources that treat mental health and substance abuse disorders,” said Senator Moran. “This grant will better equip EMS technicians to identify and handle mental health and substance abuse emergencies, consequently saving lives. Additionally, this grant invests in the mental health of our emergency responders to make certain they are receiving the resources necessary to protect their own mental health.”
“The Rural EMS Training Grant will be very helpful in addressing the training needs of EMS providers in Reno County and provide opportunities to bolster the number of providers with our rural EMS agencies. The grant will be used to provide comprehensive education on behavioral health emergencies and address the substance abuse crisis impacting our rural community. The grant funding will used to provide continuing education to existing EMS providers and scholarships will be available for EMT classes to recruit new providers. The grant will allow us to take these essential step to retain and recruit quality EMS providers to our community,” said Dave Johnston, EMS Chief.
The Rural Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Training Grant, funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, aims to recruit and train EMS personnel in rural areas. Specifically, Reno County EMS will use the funds to recruit and train quality EMS providers focusing on addressing mental health and substance use disorders in emergency settings. The grant aims to address increasing rates of substance use disorders, fatal overdoses, and mental health crises.
Drug overdoses have increased steadily over the past decade, with 477 drug-related deaths in Kansas in 2020. Of these 477 deaths, 254 were from opioids. In the past 12 months, there have been 268 drug overdoses and 18 deaths in Reno County alone. Additionally, mental health crises have increased substantially, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, over 40 percent of U.S. adults had an adverse mental health condition, experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.
In addition to improving access to emergency medical care, it will also help the first responders to recognize and address their own mental health stressors. According to the 2021 EMS Trend Report, provider mental health and provider safety is the second leading issue facing the industry today.
Reno County EMS will leverage various health care organizations to improve EMS in rural communities. Operated by Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, Reno County EMS will partner with Horizons Mental Health Center and other rural EMS providers in Haven and Pretty Prairie. They will also provide scholarships for EMT students at Hutchinson Community College. In total, Reno County EMS received $188,596. They were among 32 grantees across the country to receive an award.
Throughout his time in Congress, Dr. Marshall has advocated for timely and expanded access to coordinated care, including mental health and addiction treatment, for patients. The grant was funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which he supported.