2016 AMBY Best Employee Program: EmergyCare, EMS Academy
Congratulations to the 2016 AMBY Award Winners
Each year, the American Ambulance Association honors best practices, ingenuity, and innovation from EMS providers across the country with our AMBY Awards.
EmergyCare | Erie, PA
In order to combat the nationwide EMS recruitment and retention crisis, EmergyCare has developed its very own EMS Academy. Recent changes to regulations have increased the amount of hours required for EMT and paramedic training, making it more expensive thus, causing more candidates to balk at completing training. EmergyCare realized that in order to continue to grow and thrive as an organization, that it had to get out in front of the hiring crisis.
Until recently, EmergyCare and other educational institutions held EMT and Paramedic training courses on a regular basis, keeping the pool of potential clinical employees at a reasonable level. In 2010 Pennsylvania’s Department of Health Bureau of EMS decided to no longer provide testing for Paramedics due to the high cost of keeping updated tests. Instead, the Bureau decided to make National Registry testing the only viable option. In order to provide this level of testing, all paramedic programs had to be licensed and approved by the NREMT, something that required programs to be affiliated with a college or university. These requirements elongated the paramedic program due to college level prerequisite courses, and substantially increased costs, discouraging applicants.
EmergyCare’s new EMS Academy pays employees and new hires a salary while they are training so they can support their families, while providing them with an education that turn into a professional career. Before implementing their new EMS Academy, EmergyCare surveyed staff to gauge interest in such a program and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
Prior to implementing their EMS Academy, EmergyCare’s employee turnover was already extremely low – 10% compared to the industry average of 30%. That being said, EmergyCare realized that the shortage of EMTs and paramedics were a serious threat to the service’s long term financial health. EmergyCare experiences about a 2% growth in call volume annually, and in order to keep up with this growth, realized that it needed to take action to address the EMT and Paramedic shortage.
EmergyCare’s goal was to have was to have 70% of new students certified to work as replacement staff for the current EmergyCare EMTs so that they can attend paramedic training. The Academy program would also expect to have 70% of the initial students certified to work at EmergyCare as full-time paramedics. In addition to hiring and training new employees, EmergyCare’s EMS Academy is allowing current employees to seek additional education. The previous year’s Academy Paramedics help offset EmergyCare’s current shortage of paramedics, enhancing employee morale by balancing current workloads, allowing operational staff to go off duty on time, and decreasing overtime due to having additional paramedics to assist with coverage for vacations, injuries, illness, and additional turnover.
EmergyCare has seen an immediate return on investment from its EMS Academy. Since implementation, the EMS Academy has already seen the following improvements:
- Decreased staffing shortage by 85 – 90%
- Balanced workload of current employees
- Decreased “Turned Calls” by 50%
- Decreased overtime expenses
Addressing the EMT and Paramedic shortage within the EMS industry has allowed EmergyCare to continue to grow and improve employee morale and retention. The EMS Academy will continue to focus on meeting current staffing needs for EmergyCare as well as provide and market the only alternative Paramedic training program for Northwest Pennsylvania.
Congratulations to the entire EmergyCare Team for your EMS Academy’s selection as the 2016 AMBY Winner for Best Employee Program.