HOPEWELL Va (WRIC)– A medical transport provider is pulling out of the City of Hopewell, which city officials say will mean more calls for the Hopewell Fire Department.
Amber Moore is the captain of personnel for the Hopewell Emergency Crew, which contracted a medical transport company (MTI) based out of Virginia Beach to transport residents for emergencies. Moore said the contractors are pulling out due to staffing reasons.
“They are not able to provide the adequate staffing that we need here at the emergency crew,” Moore explained.
Moore said the Hopewell Emergency Crew currently staffs about 40 volunteers Monday through Friday from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.
The transport company was hired to help support their efforts as a result of a decline in volunteers.
The fire chief said this means Hopewell Fire Department’s emergency medical technicians will have to respond to roughly 1,200 more calls a year.
“It is going to increase our calls significantly, and we are trying to be prepared to be able to handle all of the incidents,” Chief Donald Hunter said.
In order to compensate, the department suggests hiring six new firefighter/EMT positions as well as merging with Hopewell Emergency Crew. Some members of the crew, however, are against that plan. Members told 8News a merge will cause them to lose their license.
“What the volunteers see happening is that we are going to essentially lose the Hopewell Emergency Crew,” Moore said.
The fire chief said they do not intend to exclude Hopewell Emergency Crew volunteers.
“We are not trying to get rid of the volunteers,” Hunter said. “We want them to maintain and stay.”
The Assistant City Manager, Charles Dane, said the fire department’s plan will cost about $50,000 to fund. They plan to use insurance cost recovery funds to pay for the additional $250,000.
Members of the Hopewell Emergency Crew said they paid about $150,00 for the medical transport service. They said there was no burden to taxpayers as none of the funds came from the City Hopewell.
The ambulance transport provider stops service to Hopewell on March 31st.