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Celebrating EMS Week 2021

What a rollercoaster.  2020, 2021… and the work isn’t done yet.

This is that moment we step back, and look at what prepared us for today.

  • 1966, a collection of papers shaped the entire future of our industry by identifying trauma facility criteria, and urging EMS to improve in order to support our mission, which was quality of life.  The white paper and its recommendations for a standardized emergency response and standards for training gave way to National Highway Safety Act of 1966 that established the Department of Transportation.
  • 1970, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians began to standardize the sharp differing standards in various States, that made it far easier (or a bit harder) to become a member of the EMS community.  In Michigan, the standards were shaped not only for the trauma patient, but for all patients with medical or traumatic emergencies.
  • 1979, motorized hearses used since as early as 1917 modified to carry patients to hospitals began to phase out of service, in favor of the Type I, Type II, and Type III chassis, designed to provide attendants the room to store equipment and treat their patients while en route to the hospital, and gave patients and providers a safer means of reaching their destinations.
  • 1986, focuses on critical care emergencies led the National Flight Paramedic Association, currently known as the International Association of Flight & Critical Care Paramedics to develop and support collegiate programs including the UMBC, and later the IBSC, for the promulgation of flight and ground based specialty and critical care levels of patient care.
  • 1996, the EMS Agenda for the Future provided an opportunity to examine what had been learned during the past three decades and create a vision for the future.  This document focused on aspects of emergency medical services EMS related to emergency care outside traditional health care facilities.
  • 2001, community paramedicine evolved methods of community-based health care by allowing paramedics to function outside customary emergency response and transport roles in ways that facilitate more appropriate use of resources and enhance access to primary care for underserved populations. Target populations included frail or elderly patients, those lacking transportation, patients with cognitive disorderse, 911 “superusers”, and patients requiring follow-up after discharge from an emergency department or hospital.
  • 2019, EMS Agenda 2050 was the result of a collaborative and inclusive two-year effort to create a bold plan for the next several decades. The new Agenda for the Future envisions people-centered innovative possibilities to advance EMS systems.

Today, we continue to work at the federal level and with State lawmakers to identify EMS as a “provider” of service, which would see advances in compensation for ambulance services, and allow EMS services to seek reimbursement for the care they provide.  While a “supplier” can only charge a flat rate for services, the “provider” can be appropriately reimbursed for the services they have rendered, making reimbursements make sense, and making them accountable.

As EMS moves forward toward its lofty 2050 goals, we continue with the knowledge that we are capable of relying on ourselves, and each other.

Thank you, EMS Providers, for all you do.

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