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Paramedic shortage looms large in Northwest Arkansas


The Fayetteville-Rogers-Springdale-Bentonville metro area has more than doubled in the past 25 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.


By Jennifer Joyner
Talk Business & Politics

Area emergency medical services leaders say a shortage of paramedics will require a multipronged approach to fix. A fire department chief and the head of Central Emergency Medical Services said at the heart of the matter is Northwest Arkansas’ fast-growing population.

The Fayetteville-Rogers-Springdale-Bentonville metro area has more than doubled in the past 25 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The 1990 Census reflected a population of 239,464, and the latest estimates from 2016 show the region is now home to 525,032 people.

With that growth, the need for paramedic services is deepening. Rogers Fire Department Chief Tom Jenkins said he’s watched emergency call volume increase upward of 10% each year in Rogers.

“It takes two years to train a paramedic, including prerequisite coursework and certification, and we can’t get them off the shelf fast enough,” he said. “You see that manifesting sometimes into ultra-competitive recruitment, which is not heathy. When you have to rob from other governmental entities providing 911 ambulance services, someone loses.” Read more.

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