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Emergency Medical Services: We`re Listening

This month, On Scene is focusing government relations and legislative issues—timely topics for the EMS Section. Late last year, we conducted a survey of our section membership and our IAFC directors to guide the future of the EMS Section.

We had a great response (if yours wasn't included, then we sincerely missed you), and we want you to know that we're listening.

By a significant margin, legislative advocacy was the number-one issue our membership and board felt should be our priority. With this in mind, we set it as our number one goal in the EMS Section 2015 Strategic Plan.

This goal, "Develop and implement a plan to influence the development of supportive EMS legislation, leverage those initiatives using other EMS organizations and communicate those initiatives with the membership and the IAFC Board," has four specific strategies that will guide us in achieving this goal. All four of these tie back to the IAFC's goals of Lead, Educate and Service.

Strategy 1.1, Lead, states, "Research and propose new EMS legislation that supports the strategic direction of the Board and Section." This will be done by establishing a legislative action committee, reconstituting the CMS task force and looking for opportunities to partner with other national EMS organizations to develop potential legislation.

Our second strategy also falls under Lead and connects back to the first one: "Leverage the relationships with other EMS organizations to facilitate the passage or defeat of legislation affecting EMS."

Topics such as the Ryan White Act, the EMS Field Bill, legislation dealing with pandemic response, and Medicare/Medicaid ambulance payments all fall into this strategy.

The third strategy, Serve, is, "Develop and implement a methodology to monitor and track legislation affecting EMS."

Our intent here is to ensure that our members are aware of what is going on inside the Beltway. Working with the IAFC's Government Relations staff as well as other stakeholder groups, we intend to develop a tool for tracking not only proposed EMS legislation, but also rulemaking and regulations.

Our last strategy falls under Educate and is worded the same as the goal. We can't move EMS forward unless we ensure that our members and our board are well educated on all of these issues. By developing reporting tools and mechanisms for our membership and the board, we hope we can keep you informed without overloading you.

This is only one of four goals this year. It's ambitious, but we do believe it is very doable.

Oh, one other thing. We also asked in the survey how you prefer to receive EMS Section information and news, and surprisingly, a majority of you responded that you have never connected with our Facebook, Twitter, or Google Group feeds. Your preference is to get info through the section website, our monthly e-newsletter and news alerts.

So, watch for changes in how we reach out to you as we all know it's a two-way street to communicate effectively. We're listening.

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