Is there any hope of ending Cleveland EMS delays?

CLEVELAND (WJW) – FOX 8 I-Team just played one-on-one against the leader Cleveland EMS on what is being done to end ambulance delays.

Over the months, we discovered the issues that led to those delays. People often cannot afford to wait. However, no one from EMS or town hall would agree to answer questions about it.

Tuesday morning, we found EMS Commissioner Nicole Carlton at a breaking point. We ask what is being done right now to make a difference with the delay.

“We’re hiring a lot,” says Carlton.

She said a new class of about three dozen healthcare workers will graduate within weeks. Even then, though, Cleveland EMS will still be short by dozens.

Carlton did not outline any quick fixes.

I-Team found that ambulances failed to handle calls when they were shut down due to frequent medical staff shortages.

Sometimes that leads to delays in getting paramedics to life-or-death emergencies.

In fact, the Cleveland EMS was so short, multiple sources told us, that as of Monday, more than a third of the ambulances scheduled to handle calls were out of service.

So we also asked about people calling 911 and being forced to wait for an ambulance.

“You know, we call it priority. We’ve been doing that for several decades, so we call it a priority. So our highest priority calls get the first response,” Carlton said.

We responded by pointing out, despite this, that we still see people waiting for an ambulance for significant periods of time.

“There can be times when people have to wait,” says Carlton.

All of this is happening even as COVID-19 cases continue to pile up and put more strain on healthcare workers.

We also wonder how the city has let its EMS shortage come to this point. Commissioner blamed COVID.

“So our hiring numbers have decreased. She said.

To be clear, I-Team started addressing these issues long before COVID-19.

But, whatever the reason behind it all, be prepared to wait for change. You may also be waiting when you call 911.

While Cleveland EMS says it’s doing all it can to hire more people, some of those who are currently employees may be leaving.

Capturing the short-term payroll situation is by no means a certainty.

A new Mayor will take over in Cleveland next month. Several weeks ago, we contacted him.

At the time, Justin Bibb promised to take a close look at the EMS and what could be done to fix the problem.

Regarding this story, a spokesperson told us via email that the new mayor will have a lot to say about EMS once he is sworn in. Is there any hope of ending Cleveland EMS delays?


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