Kan. County Increases Pay for EMTs to Boost Retention
Dec. 05—Plagued with continuous turnover among Emergency Medical Technicians, the Dickinson County Commission on Thursday increased the base pay for that position, putting it in the $10 per hour range.
Over the past four years, 19 people have left the Dickinson County Emergency Medical Service with EMTs making up the majority of those leaving. EMT is the basic entry level position.
"We know this is an issue. The last couple people we had leave left for counties where they're getting $2 or $3 more an hour starting out," said County Administrator Brad Homman.
Dickinson County's base pay for the EMT position is significantly less than that offered by surrounding entities, specifically Salina Fire, Clay County EMS and Marion County EMS.
"Marion County starts their people out at $12 an hour and Salina Fire starts out about $10,000 more than we do a year," Homman said.
And unlike some jobs, EMS employees aren't necessarily tied to the town they work in.
"Unlike a normal employee who works eight or 10 hours a day—in the EMS world—they work 24 hour shifts, just by the nature of the work," Homman explained. "So they work 10 days a month. The fact alone gives them the ability to live pretty much where they want and drive to work for their 24 hours and drive back.
We've got people who live in Abilene who drive to Salina, Junction City, Clay County and Marion County and work for them as an EMT and make more money even though they're commuting," he said.
The increase will cost an additional $40,000—an amount already available in the EMS budget. Dickinson County EMS has about 10 EMTs, Homman said.
"Our collections are up for EMS. It's one of the services that we actually charge for. We had budgeted $650,000 in revenue for this year and we're about $100,000 ahead of that, which is good," Homman said.
In coming months, the county will re-examine the situation and decide if more can be allocated. Even with the increase, Dickinson County still lags behind the other entities they are competing with for staff.