Clinton, Miss. — Early this morning, D.C. area television stations reported that federal offices were closed due to a snowstorm. However, once the 195 EMS professionals from 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico attending EMS on the Hill Day 2013 learned that some offices were still open, they were determined to carry out their plans if possible.
Many of the EMS on the Hill Day attendees were able to visit with their U.S. Senators, House Representatives and their congressional staff to let them know more about the EMS profession, the work EMS professionals do to serve their communities, and the challenges facing EMS.
In its fourth year and hosted by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), EMS on the Hill Day is the only national EMS advocacy event open to all EMS professionals.
“We're EMS. We don't let something like the weather stop us. We have our boots and hats on, and we're ready to go meet with our congressional representatives,” says Don Lundy, NAEMT president. “For those of us whose representatives are not available, we take heart in knowing that EMS advocacy isn’t a one day event, and it certainly doesn’t end in March. It's an ongoing process,” Lundy says.
Program and Legislative Requests
On March 5, EMS on the Hill Day participants attended an informative pre-Hill Visit briefing to prepare them for their congressional visits, and a networking reception, hosted by NAEMT, that evening.
On March 6, while waiting to hear if their congressional offices were open, participants attended a gathering addressing key legislation and other issues affecting EMS. If their congressional offices were open, they then attended scheduled appointments with their Senate and House leaders and their staff, asking for their support on the following priorities:
- Co-sponsorship by members of the House of H.R. 809, The Field EMS Quality, Innovation and Cost-Effectiveness Improvements Act, also known as the Field EMS Bill.
- Support in the U.S. Senate for passage of The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act, H.R 235, which passed the House earlier this month.
- Joining the EMS Caucus.
Learn more here: http://www.naemt.org/advocacy/emsonthehillday/talkingpoints.aspx.
Tonight, participants will enjoy a post-Hill visit reception hosted by NAEMT. Congressional leaders and staff, and federal agency staff also will attend this event, held at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. At the reception, Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) will be recognized for his championship of the Field EMS Bill, and Congressman Tim Walz (D-Minn.) will be recognized for his leadership of the EMS Caucus.
“Thank you to all who spent their limited time and funds to attend EMS on the Hill Day. We greatly appreciate your commitment,” Lundy says. “Even if you couldn't attend EMS on the Hill Day or meet with your representatives this year, you can, and should, contact your federal representatives and their staff and let them know why you support the Field EMS Bill and what it can do for local EMS services. While your congressional representatives are busy, they are your employees, and it's key that they know about EMS and the value we offer to the community.”
Thank You to Event Sponsors
EMS on the Hill Day 2013 sponsors included:
- Champion – EMS World, Onsite OHS
- Principal – Braun Industries
- Pillar – 5.11 Tactical, Ambulance Plus, American College of Emergency Physicians, EMS Today, MedicAlert Foundation
- Steward – American Red Cross, CABT/GoRail, OnStar
NAEMT thanks these sponsors for their support of this important event.
How to Get Involved
EMS practitioners 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. Through Capwiz, EMS practitioners can locate the district offices of their congressional leaders and then simply enter their ZIP codes to access their congressional leaders' contact information. They also can e-mail their congressional leaders from Capwiz. Capwiz can be accessed at http://capwiz.com/naemt/home/.
Formed in 1975 and today over 30,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is the only national association dedicated to representing the professional interests of all emergency medical services (EMS) practitioners, including paramedics, advanced emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical responders and other professionals working in prehospital emergency medicine. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government service agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial
and special operations settings, and in the military.