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Fresh off a 24-hour shift, Clay Trevenen was finishing breakfast at a restaurant in Craig on Sunday morning when a text came in: Anyone available to help transport a patient to Glenwood Springs?

The 51-year-old slid the phone to his wife, with whom he’d promised to spend the day.

“She said, ‘Are you gonna go?’” Trevenen said. “I said, ‘If I don’t, it’s not going to happen.’”

So much for a day off.

In Moffat County, this is how people in rural areas often find their way to a hospital in an emergency, relying on emergency medical service (EMS) workers like Trevenen to pick up extra shifts. The EMS crew’s funding is low because the reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid patients are low, and there’s not enough staff because there’s not enough money.

The northwest Colorado county’s EMS service may vanish altogether if voters don’t step in, and EMS leaders warn that other rural departments in Colorado — and across the U.S. — could follow. Some have already shut down.

Full story via Alex Burness, The Denver Post 

Underfunded, overworked and urgently needed: The state of EMS in rural Colorado

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