EMS on the Hill Day 2013 Survives “Snowquester”

Paramedics and EMTs deliver unified message despite storm

 

 
 
 

Teresa McCallion, EMT-B | | Thursday, March 7, 2013


Neither snow, nor rain, nor the gloom of political sequestration could keep 195 intrepid EMS professionals from the swift completion of their appointed rounds during the 5th annual EMS on the Hill Day, hosted by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT).

As a powerful winter storm bore down on Washington, D.C., NAEMT planners scrambled to develop an alternate program just in case the 221 meetings they had so diligently scheduled with congressional leaders and their representatives were cancelled due to inclement weather. Just before 3 a.m. Wednesday, it was announced that all of the federal offices would be closed that day.

Several NAEMT members were pressed into service to develop a last-minute presentation for the attendees that covered key EMS legislation and healthcare reform issues. However, an hour into that session, word began to circulate that, while the U.S. Senators were not in their offices, many members of the House Representatives were still expecting the EMS delegations. After a mad scramble and many hasty phone calls, a significant number of the meetings were salvaged and the EMS professionals charged the Hill.

“This was a tremendous team effort from so many people,” says NAEMT President Don Lundy, NREMT-P. “It shows that, unlike other professions, EMS does not let weather—or the federal government shutting down—stop its tenacity.” In fact, with a suddenly open congressional calendar, many of the EMS attendees were able to spend extra time with their representatives.

It’s exactly that kind of relationship building that Lundy says makes a difference in garnering support for EMS issues. Four years ago, when NAEMT first hosted EMS on the Hill, they advocated for three issues: extending Medicare reimbursement, the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit and the establishment of the D Block for public safety communications. Although it typically takes seven years to get a bill through Congress, the three measures were passed within three years. “That’s your power,” Lundy told a record number of EMS paramedics and EMTs from 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

EMS on the Hill Day was launched as a way for the profession to present a unified voice and a consistent message. Hosted by NAEMT, the process is open to everyone in EMS, regardless of delivery model. Lundy attributes its success to the face-to-face conversations between EMS professionals and congressional leaders. “Nothing sells a bill like the passion of the deliverer. EMS is a passionate business. I think they can see that. They remember us,” he says.

This year, EMS professionals again headed to the Hill with three “asks”:

  • Support for the Field EMS Quality, Innovation and Cost-Effectiveness Improvements Act (H.R. 809);
  • Membership in the Congressional EMS Caucus; and
  • Senate support of the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013 (H.R. 235) that has already passed in the House.

“The biggest message of all is that we bring value to the community,” Lundy says. Despite the threat of snow and wind, the EMS professionals who attended the 2013 EMS on the Hill Day delivered.

For more information regarding the EMS legislation advocated by NAEMT, go to www.naemt.org.

How You Can Help
EMS providers who were not able to attend EMS on the Hill Day are urged to support EMS advocacy from home using the Capwiz Online Legislative Service. The program allows EMS providers to locate the district offices of their congressional leaders and provides contact information. You can even e-mail your congressional leaders from Capwiz. Go to http://capwiz.com/naemt/home.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: EMS Today, EMS on the Hill Day

 
Author Thumb

Teresa McCallion, EMT-B

 is a freelance public safety writer and the editor of EMS Insider living in Bonney Lake, Wash.

BROWSE FULL BIO & ARTICLES >

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

NAEMT: Transforming EMS

A look inside at the Mobile Healthcare Paramedic system.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Austin-Travis County Community Health Paramedic Program

Overview of program provides operation and referral details.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Flight Paramedic’s Perfect Weekend

Carilion Lifeguard Flight Paramedic shares what would make his perfect weekend.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Honolulu EMS Pilot Program

New program tests change in shift schedule for EMTs and Paramedics.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >