West Virginia: Wayne County EMS Facing Major Challenges

According to recent reporting from local NBC affiliate WSAZ, Wayne County is facing major challenges with its EMS system. A recent article highlighted medical emergencies in the county with no ambulance available.

"WSAZ also looked at state law finding it is the duty of county commissions to provide emergency ambulance service."

The quote from WSAZ is partially correct. But it’s generally understood counties in West Virginia must only provide EMS to the extent they can afford it.

County commissioners are currently planning to use opioid settlement funds to offer funding, but there are multiple options on the table. Voters rejected an excess levy in 2018 by a margin of 65% to 35%.

Commissioners also considered the option of imposing an ambulance fee, which doesn’t require voter approval. Instead, they can be imposed via a majority vote of the county commission. Ambulance fees are essentially taxes that can only be used to support EMS-related expenses. They are generally flat and billed on a per-household basis regardless of property value.