HEMSI employee concerned about regional growth affecting work flow

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- One employee says HEMSI has been struggling to keep up with the growth of the region, and for the past few years, it's gotten more difficult to keep up.

WHNT News 19 took the concerns to the CEO of HEMSI, Jon Howell, who says the call volume for Madison County has not changed significantly.

The HEMSI employee did not want to be identified but wanted the concerns to be brought up. "The biggest issue is the city is increasing in size and population," said the employee. "They're not adding more trucks. They're adding more employees but the employees aren't willing to stay because of the increased call volume."

Even with the growth of the area, Howell said the call volume has stayed relevantly the same.

"Over the past three years, we've really seen our call volume stabilize somewhat," said Howell. "We haven't seen a lot of spikes. We might see 10-8% swings in call volume week to week right now, but we are really not going over the numbers."

The employee said HEMSI has been sending multiple emails a week regarding the staffing shortage.

He said the shortage stems from the increased workflow, but Howell said much of it has to do with employees currently on leave.

"We have been short of employees lately, but we've had a number of people on medical leave so we've had people on military leave and those openings have created so challenges for us," explained Howell.

The employee is asking for those challenges to be addressed.

"I'm hoping the employees get the recognition they deserve in forms of increased pay to run the increasing amount of calls or I'm hoping they can add more trucks to be able to take more calls off the employees currently working," the employee said.

Howell said the HEMSI fleet consists of 35 ambulances to cover Madison County and they look at the call volume every week. He said when they see a significant increase in calls regularly, they will look into purchasing an additional truck.

He added that they are training a new set of employees this week. "We do have new employees this week though and those are going to help fill in those holes that we have," said Howell. "Currently on our full-time staffing plan, we're only six people short."

Howell said the national average turnover rate for EMTs and paramedics with 30-40% while HEMSI's turnover rate is 15%.

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