EST to charge new members following budget cuts
Student Health Services has cut Washington University’s Emergency Support Team’s funding by $8,000 due to departmental budget cuts. Though the cut will not affect the services that EST offers, students who want to join EST will have to pay around $1,000 to be trained.
EST has traditionally received block funding from Student Union along with funding from Student Health Services (SHS). Because EST is allocated a specified amount of money for two years through block funding, the group cannot appeal to SU Treasury to replace the money.
Because of the cuts, EST is now reworking the reimbursement system it has set up for incoming EST members in order to account for its deficit.
Students training to become emergency medical technicians through the EST program will now be expected to pay the entire cost of training up front. They will be repaid a portion of that cost after completing a predetermined number of hours on call.
It costs approximately $1,000 dollars for each freshman to become a certified EMT, including the costs of tuition and textbooks for the EMT training course offered through Forest Park Community College. In the past, EST subsidized a majority of that cost.
Students outside of the EST program will not be as affected by these cuts.
“[The budget cut] won’t affect any operations of the team. It hasn’t yet, and it won’t,” said Kevin Stephenson, EST field director.
EST director Stephanie Higgins ensured that the services will still remain.
“There will be no perceptible difference [in the services offered]. We are still going to be highly trained; we are still going to respond to every call; we are still going to keep buying all the equipment we need,” said Higgins.
EST plans to ask for an increase in their block funding next voting period in order to continue operations as usual in future years.
The majority of EST’s current budget goes to certifying freshmen as state-licensed EMTs, repairs and maintenance of the EST truck, equipment purchases and a savings fund for a new EST truck.
“EST provides a great service to students. We provide 24/7 free emergency medical care,” Higgins said.
Stephenson therefore highlights the value of the EST program.
“When students are worried and not sure if they have to go to the hospital or not, instead of having to pay $500 dollars for an ambulance ride, they can call us,” Stephenson said.
SHS did not return several inquiries from Student Life over the past week.