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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) hosted EMS on the Hill Day last week, during which EMS practitioners from all over the United States discussed legislation that will affect the profession.
Meeting with members of Congress and their staff, EMTs and paramedics advocated for legislation that will benefit emergency medical services agencies nationally. While legislation takes time to pass, it is important to note that the very presence of EMTs and paramedics on Capitol Hill helps to further the conversation about these policy initiatives.
The Importance of Capitol Hill Meetings and EMS on the Hill Day
Individual Americans rarely experience emergencies. As a result, few people think about ambulances or understand the myriad policy issues associated with them.
That’s why it is particularly important for members of Congress and their staff to meet with EMTs and paramedics to become much more aware of the issues that affect ambulance services. Without meetings like these, the issues that affect emergency medical services can be a nebulous web of complications.
Continuing the Conversation for Policy Improvement
Complacency and apathy are detrimental to organizational change. These two attitudes create people who do not care to make changes. That leads to a standstill with little or no change for the future. It is one of the reasons why advocacy is important. But it is also necessary to continue the conversation beyond advocacy, to where new ideas emerge and may bring forth policy changes.
EMS on the Hill Day is a vehicle of change from a policy standpoint and from the standpoint of organizational change. Between meetings with legislators, EMTs and paramedics talk about the various issues that affect their line of work. This dialogue allows for an exchange of ideas forcing individuals to contemplate policies and potential organizational changes.
In addition, meetings by EMTs and paramedics from other states allow everyone to compare notes and to become familiar with patterns and trends throughout the country.
Events like EMS on the Hill Day are particularly important to promote legislative and organizational changes in the emergency medical services community. These conversations become the seeds of real changes on a national level and are important to changing EMS for the better.