Durbin, Duckworth Announce More Than $650,000 to Support EMS Agencies in Rural Communities
CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced $653,923 in federal funding through Durbin’s Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs (SIREN) Act to support EMS agencies in rural communities. The funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which was created through Durbin’s SIREN Act, goes toward supporting EMS agencies in training and recruiting staff, conducting certification courses, and purchasing equipment.
“Our EMS agencies ensure that, regardless of geography or circumstances, every American has a fighting chance at survival and recovery in times of crisis,” said Durbin. “We owe it to these dedicated individuals to stand by their side, to provide unwavering support, and to ensure that in the moments when seconds count, they have everything they need to continue being the lifeline of rural America.”
“Investments in emergency medical services help rural communities protect and serve families throughout Illinois,”Duckworth said. “Every Illinoisian, in every zip code, deserves accessible, high-quality healthcare—including in those moments of crisis.”
Recipients of the SIREN Act awards include:
- Amboy Ambulance and Fire Protection District EMS Training Program - $100,449
- Jersey Community Hospital EMS Training Program - $200,000
- Gibson Area Hospital Emergency Medical Services Training - $200,000
- Wabash General Hospital EMS Training and Enhancement Project - $153,474
Durbin’s bipartisan SIREN Act was initially signed into law in 2018 as part of the Farm Bill. Since then, Durbin and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) have led the appropriations effort to grow the program from $5 million annually to $10.5 million this year.
A decline in primary care and hospital service availability, workforce shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, great distances between health care facilities, and low insurance reimbursement for transport and emergency treatment have all strained rural EMS agencies. At the same time, EMS agencies today are tasked with ever-greater responsibilities—preparing fornatural and manmade disasters and bioterror threats, supporting the chronic and emergency care needs of an aging population, and responding on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. These first responders are often the only health care providers in their area and face difficulty in personnel recruitment and retention, and securing expensive equipment.
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