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04/11/2019

Wolf Administration Discusses How Restore Pennsylvania Can Bring High-Speed Internet Access to Rural EMS to Improve Services

New Oxford, PA – Today, Governor’s Office of Broadband Initiatives Acting Executive Director Sheri Collins joined Department of Health Director of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services Dylan Ferguson at Adams Regional Emergency Medical Service, Inc. (AREMS) in New Oxford. The officials discussed how lack of broadband access prevents AREMS from adopting the latest technology that can help them provide crucial emergency services and save lives. They also discussed how the bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania proposal is vital to helping rural areas close the digital divide by bringing high-speed internet access to emergency medical personnel and every Pennsylvanian.

“When it comes to emergency medical services, every second counts,” Collins said. “EMS agencies like AREMS need access to robust, reliable broadband to ensure that they’re able to communicate with patients and medical facilities effectively. Restore Pennsylvania is the only way we can fund the broadband infrastructure that EMS agencies need to do their jobs and save lives.”

Restore Pennsylvania, the $4.5 billion bipartisan proposal funded through a commonsense severance tax, will provide funding to completely bridge the digital divide in every community in Pennsylvania. Funding will be available to support installation of infrastructure to bring high-speed internet to every corner of the commonwealth.

For EMS, broadband is essential to ensure agencies can provide medical services to patients at the highest level possible and save lives. Broadband enables the transmission of crucial data to be input and quickly transmitted to the receiving facility, allowing the facility to be more prepared to treat the patient’s condition as the patient arrives. It facilitates a greater degree of training and sharing of best practices from national EMS organizations. Also, broadband improves data collection and enables EMS agencies to implement the latest new technology that improves response time, streamlines communication, and increases an agency’s effectiveness at providing care.

“In today’s modern, technological world, access to broadband internet is an essential tool for EMS providers, as they learn, communicate and save lives,” Ferguson said. “Through the Restore Pennsylvania initiative, the administration is working to ensure communities in every corner of the state have the resources and technology to meet the challenges of today. Whether those challenges are treating patients visiting Gettysburg, helping someone dealing with the disease of addiction, or treating a child who fell off their bike, our EMS providers need access to these tools to assist the public in need.”

In most cases across Pennsylvania, local municipalities cannot fund broadband infrastructure themselves. Additional resources are needed to implement this model on a larger scale. If passed into law, Restore Pennsylvania will support every phase of the process, from feasibility testing to connection, at a level far beyond any existing funding mechanisms.

Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth's vital infrastructure needs. Funded through a commonsense severance tax, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century.

View the full Restore Pennsylvania plan here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Gerber, 717-783-1132

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