Across the United States, students are struggling to finance their advanced education and training. The cost of professional programs often prohibits young people from achieving degrees or certification, though they have great passion and talent in their chosen field.
Things are no different in San Diego, where the cost of living exacerbates the challenge some EMTs face when trying to pay for their medical training. Luckily, Meghan McCool, chief operating officer and critical-care nurse of the Mira Mesa-based CARE Ambulance company, isn’t waiting for someone else to find a solution—she’s provided one herself.
McCool has developed an informal scholarship program with no application, no quotas and no rules. When she sees someone in need of financial assistance for training, she reaches into her own pockets, which have provided nearly $100,000 worth of training over the past seven years. “I put my money where my mouth is,” McCool told U-T San Diego. “And I always say, if you do your job, we will take care of you.”
We give a thumbs up to McCool for the personal support she’s provided her EMTs and her continued generosity, which has created a stronger CARE Ambulance and EMS community.
Ezras Nashim in Brooklyn
The women of the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, N.Y., face a challenge: Their religion requires certain rules of modesty and a social separation between the sexes, yet many of the EMS providers in their community—even in strictly Orthodox EMS services, like Brooklyn’s Hatzalah—are staffed by male EMTs. In matters of obstetric and gynecological emergencies, having male EMS providers care for female patients could mar the modesty toward which the women of this community strive.
To address the need for female EMTs, Rachel Freier, a lawyer and mother of six, has organized an EMS corps called Ezras Nashim, or “women’s help.” The group is comprised of Hasidic women who are trained EMTs, but who couldn’t find jobs.
When the male-run Hatzalah rejected Freier’s proposal of including these EMTs as a “female branch” of the organization, Freier developed an independent organization, launching fundraisers and pursuing grants to fund her efforts. When Ezaras Nashim is fully operational, Freier will provide a female EMT for any emergency call involving a female in the Hasidic community.
“It’s not revolutionary; it’s something that’s needed,” Freier told Yahoo! Shine.
We applaud Freier and her corps of dedicated EMTs who provide a unique and necessary service to the Hasidic community of Brooklyn.
Down without a Fight
Corpus Christi, Texas, will no longer implement a proposed moblie integrated heathcare (MIH) program that was slated to receive funding from a three-year, $865,000 City-County Health Department grant.
The money would’ve supported the hiring of two paramedics and two nurses to treat members of the community who habitually use EMS.
The city reported it decided to drop the proposal after IAFF Local 936 filed a class-action grievance that stopped the proposed program in its tracks.
Matt Zavadsky, director of public affairs at MedStar Mobile Healthcare of North Texas, has been working with the city’s fire administration and local healthcare system stakeholders to develop the program.
“The IAFF Local didn’t agree with the new hires not being part of the union and claimed it was a violation of the collective bargaining agreement,” Zavadsky said in an email.
In order to belong to the union, the new hires would have to be trained firefighters. To avoid the controversy and “legal hurdles,” the city turned down the funding, Zavadsky said. “While there are examples of excellent [MIH] implementations based on reasonable agreements between labor and management in communities … it may be very difficult to implement fire-based MIH programs because of labor and management issues.”
We chide the Local 936 and the city of Corpus Christi for not going forward with a program that would benefit many members of the community and its EMS services. We encourage them to work to find an equitable agreement in the near future and still implement the proposed MIH program.