Emergency Medical Services: There's Always Something

It seems not a day goes by without another problem, issue or challenge for fire and EMS rearing its ugly head. Personnel issues, billing challenges, governmental rules and regulations, drug shortages—you name it. You know what you’re dealing with locally, the list goes on and on, and it seems like it is always something.

The IAFC and EMS Section recognize the many local issues you face day in and day out. While we can offer advice, provide some resources and help connect you with others who may have had similar experiences, we just don’t have the capacity to work on every local issue.

When issues occur at the state level, we can also reach out to state fire and EMS associations on a limited basis to help provide insight and advice. However, it’s still a matter of capacity, and with our limited resources, we want to focus our efforts to ensure a maximum return on investment.

National level “somethings” are what your EMS Section focuses on. We work hard to ensure we’re engaged on issues that affect most, if not all, fire and EMS agencies. The national drug shortage, ambulance design and safety standards, Medicare payments, REPLICA and the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on fire and EMS agencies are just a few examples of where we’re trying to make a difference for you.

We’re also always looking for opportunities to work with other groups to provide resources that can help you at home.

Several years ago, in conjunction with the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section, we developed the Orange Ribbon Report, which addresses EMS issues for volunteer and combination departments.

In 2012, we worked with USFA to author the Handbook for EMS Medical Directors, and just last year, utilizing the expertise of a number of section members, we published the e-book Enhancing Fire-Based Emergency Medical Services: Transitioning to the Next Level.

We maintain close relationships with other national EMS organizations, such as NHTSA, the State EMS Officials, the National Registry, the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions, the Center for Public Safety Excellence and the National Association of EMS Physicians. Each of these groups has a direct impact on our operations.

This year, we’ve committed to reaching out to other EMS partner associations, such as the National Association of EMS Managers, NAEMT, IAFF and others to either develop or enhance relationships with the intent of addressing national level issues as a group instead of as standalone associations.

Collectively, we can leverage all of our members and resources to address challenges like the enforcement of the Ryan White Act, emerging and infectious disease response and the development of ambulance standards.

Just as you deal every day with the many issues occurring locally, your EMS Section works tirelessly on the many national challenges. If you have the time, look for upcoming opportunities to serve on different EMS Section committees and task forces so we can increase our ability to influence EMS across the entire spectrum.

As you know, in the world of EMS, there’s always something.

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