EMS Narratives | Friday Night [Under The] Lights

EMS Narratives Columns

Below is the first in a series of monthly personal narratives from EMS leaders. If you would like to submit a column for consideration, please email hello@ambulance.org.

Written Friday, November 25, 2022 | By Ed Racht, MD

Happy Friday, and happy Thanksgiving weekend. I hope by now your blood sugar is slowly but surely heading back to baseline despite all the leftovers calling you from the fridge. Worth it though, right? My dad taught me long ago, “everything in moderation—even moderation.”

So, I want to tell you something tonight, especially because it is the Thanksgiving season. I’ve been thinking for a while about how to say this without sounding cliché, routine, robotic, or insincere. And then—as so often happens in life—I got a little help from a very unlikely encounter.

This past Saturday, my bestie, Heather, and I went to try a local diner for breakfast. This place has been around since air was invented. Cash only. Same tables and seats since the day they opened. Part Formica, part particle board countertops. None of the coffee cups match. Open only until 2:00PM and always closed on Sundays. The ham & cheese omelet is $7.99. Biscuits, bread, or hashbrowns only. Everyone that comes in knows everyone else. And it is packed all the time.

We chose a booth in the corner by the window because our server told us that was the warmest table she had available. She was right.

As we sat drinking our coffee in mismatched mugs, we both noticed an elderly man sitting by himself at the end of the counter. He had placed his walker against the ATM along the wall (cash only, remember?).

Then he slowly got up from his stool, grabbed that walker, and carefully wobbled his way to the restroom. It was one of those moments where we both watched and quietly prepared to jump up to help prevent what seemed like an inevitable fall. We didn’t want to offend him with an offer to help but didn’t want him taking a trip to ground either.

We looked across the table at each other and did that mutual raised eyebrow thingy. Ugh. “Warmest booth we have,” she said. Great.

A few minutes later, he slowly made his way back to his spot. But he went a few feet too far this time with the walker, making a beeline directly toward the warmest booth in the diner. He stopped for a minute (what the heck?) grabbed the handwritten check off our table and turned around, without saying a word, and made his way back to his seat. His walker made those sequential two inch turns.

Great. How do you tell an older man he has OUR check (and why did we come here again)?

“Excuse me?” We both said, eyebrows up again.

He turned to us and said, “I’ve got it.”

Wait. What?

He said, “I come up here every day for breakfast when they’re open. Twice a month, I like to buy somebody else’s breakfast. I’ve got it.”

Wow. We sat in stunned silence as this gentleman made his way back to the counter and sat down on his stool.

To make a long story short, we thanked him and struck up a small conversation with him. A few minutes in, he asked, “can I get closer?”

Of course.

So once again we went through the diner-walker challenge and he made his way over to the warmest booth in the restaurant and sat with us for the next hour. We talked about all sorts of things. His wife had been a nurse (mental health was her specialty). He told us about where they had lived and their adventures. He talked a little about his opinions of healthcare today (you can fill in those blanks).

At one point, he told me he lived in Texas and he’d always travel into Mexico to get his medications because they were so much cheaper than in the US. I asked him if he was nervous about going.

He laughed, and said, “I always went in the morning. Bad guys don’t get up early.”

Now, I’ve been in EMS for a few years and you know what? He’s right. Holy crud. Funny and spot-on relevant.

So, why am I telling you about Gary (his real name, by the way)? First, I need to cover a few more things to pull the meaning of this story together. Bear with me.

Fair warning. This next part doesn’t feel Thanksgivingy, but I’m going to argue that it’s at the very heart of a meaningful “thanks.”

Take a look at some of the toughest parts of our world right now:

  • How can we ever understand recent senseless acts of violence—and how will we ever comfort our own who responded?
  • What do we do about the fact that a recent survey shows that nine in 10 nurses believe the quality of patient care often suffers due to nursing shortages?
  • And, by the way, the majority added that they feel guilty about taking a break because they think they must always be on call (55%).
  • … resulting in half of the nurses polled admitting they have considered leaving the nursing profession altogether (50%).
  • And how about this one? According to a AAA survey of 258 EMS organizations across the country, nearly a third of the workforce left their ambulance company after less than a year. Eleven percent left within the first three months!
  • Did you know that the number of serious patient safety incidents reported to The Joint Commission jumped in 2021, reaching the highest annual level seen since the accrediting body started tracking them in 2005?
  • And … In Minnesota, nearly 60% of the state’s EMTs and about 15% of Paramedics did not provide patient care in 2021. This suggests that they left the EMS workforce altogether.

I’ll stop there, because I think you get the gist. How (and why) do I go from a Gary story to this?

This is, without a doubt, the most challenging period of EMS and healthcare history that we have faced together. Ever.

It’s really, really hard right now. And it’s hard in a different way than we’ve ever faced. Clinically hard. Operationally hard. Financially hard. Culturally hard.

Which also means that it’s personally hard. Whether you are directly providing care to a patient or supporting all the complexities that make that interaction possible and effective, it’s hard on us. The facts above reflect exactly that.

Now, I’ve been in EMS for a year or two (insert big-eye emoji), and one of the most rewarding feelings on the planet is creating order out of someone else’s chaos. I honestly believe that people like you choose this profession and support this profession in large part to make other people’s lives better.

Our mission is among the purest and most important on the face of the earth. Just think about how many people enjoyed a Thanksgiving with the people they loved because someone years before fixed their distorted anatomy or disrupted physiology.

It’s easy to forget the massive good a profession, an organization, or an individual can do. Gary gave us a little gift. When I first saw him, I was certain we would end up having to help him. But instead, he helped us.

When we work hard to take care of our patients, our communities, each other, our organization and our profession—They. Take. Care. Of. Us.

So. When our workplace is supportive, people want to join us. When our partners are fun, we seek them out. When our medicine is strong and sound, the medical profession embraces us. When our operation is accountable, we grow, evolve, and thrive when the art and science changes. When we come together as a team, we become the model of effective care. And when all that happens, WE, as individuals, can help tackle all the tough stuff in the most effective way possible.

I’d love to have more people choose EMS as a profession. I’d love to see them seek out advancement and growth. I’d love to see the science evolve to support better outcomes in unplanned illness and injury. I’d love to see hospital metrics and EMS metrics get better, not languish. I’d love to help communities become safer. And I would absolutely love for every one of us individually to be a part of that. I promise. That’s the way we make things so much better.

So tonight, on this day after Thanksgiving, I want to tell you that I’m not just thankful for what you do, I’m also extremely grateful. My daughter taught me there’s a difference. The definition of thankful is “pleased and relieved.” The definition of grateful is “feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness and gratitude.” In that spirit, I wanted to share that I’m grateful for you and I’m grateful for EMS.

We need the best in one another right now. There are four legs in our Bench of EMS Strength:

  • Taking care of ourselves
  • Taking care of our partners
  • Taking care of our patients
  • Taking care of our organizations

There is plenty of hard stuff ahead, so let’s do this. We can sit in the warmest booth in the place. I’m so grateful for that.

So, that’s it from my World. Happy Friday, and happy Thanksgiving.

Ed

SAVVIK Foundation Study on Diversity in EMS

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the emergency medical service community.

Delaware State University has teamed with the Savvik Foundation, a non-profit representing
emergency medical service (EMS) to assess equity within the EMS profession. We have created a tool to assess equity in the EMS profession.

Participants will be eligible to receive a $20 Amazon gift card upon completion of this survey. This information is confidential and anonymous. We will not be using your name in any publications regarding this process.

By responding to the questions, you are permitting us to use this information to guide
our recommendations and share our findings in articles.

If you have any questions regarding your participation in this study please contact the
principal investigator, Dr. Knolan Rawlins, at krawlins@desu.edu or Ms. Chanel Haman in
the Office of Sponsored Programs at 302.857.6834 or chaman@desu.edu.

Thank you,
Dr. Knolan Rawlins

Participate In Survey

4th Annual Study Shows Worsening EMS Turnover

Results from AAA/Newton 360 Fourth Annual EMS Industry Turnover Study Shows Worsening Employee Turnover

The American Ambulance Association (AAA) and Newton 360, an Emergency Medical Services (EMS)-based workforce management software platform, joined forces again this year to conduct the fourth annual survey of employee turnover in the EMS industry. The 2022 survey presents turnover data from 119 EMS organizations, representing more than 12,000 employees. This year, the survey included data regarding the percentage of positions reported to be open at the time of the survey, which showed that EMS agencies are having difficulty filling open positions.

Over the last few years, EMS organizations were impressive in meeting the challenges in the face of the continuing COVID-19 global pandemic. The EMS workforce rose to the challenge and battled the disease, despite the workforce shortages that have plagued the EMS profession and other healthcare partners for nearly a decade. EMS organizations have offered innovative solutions to public health crises, including establishing testing and vaccinations sites around the country, suggesting that EMS employers and employees are prepared to expand their role to include greater provision of preventive services and community-based healthcare.

Turnover Rates by Year by Occupational Category

(2021 Results Appear in Parentheses Below the 2022 Results)

 

  Average Turnover for the Year 2021 Percentage of Open Positions Summer of 2022
Occupation Overall Turnover Voluntary Turnover Involuntary Turnover Open Rate
Full-time EMT 36%

(24%)

31%

(19%)

5%

(5%)

11%
Part-time EMT 36%

(28%)

36%

(24%)

4%

(5%)

39%
Full-time Paramedic 27%

(26%)

26%

(20%)

3%

(3%)

30%
Part-time Paramedic 30%

(23%)

29%

(19%)

2%

(3%)

55%
Supervisor 21%

(15%)

16%

(11%)

2%

(3%)

13%
Dispatch 29%

(30%)

22%

(23%)

6%

(6%)

15%

 

Voluntary and overall turnover increased for 2022, with the turnover rate being in the 20 to 36 percent range for EMTs and Paramedics, a 6% increase over the prior year. Meaning that EMS agencies are experiencing a full turnover of all staff every 3-4 years. Greater than one third of all new hires, turnover within their first year of employment. Not surprisingly, this converted into a relatively high rate of currently open positions, especially for EMTs and Paramedics at EMS agencies around the country.

In keeping with prior year’s surveys, the primary reasons for cited for turnover across all positions within EMS agencies is low pay and benefits, followed by a change in career. While many agencies offered stipends and increase wages in an effort to incentivize employees, it has not flattened the turnover curve. One of the key findings in this year’s survey is the significant increase in open positions for those EMTS and Paramedics working in a part time capacity.  The open position rate for part-time paramedics was at a staggering 55%, suggesting that those who previously worked EMS as a second job no longer find it an attractive part time career choice.

This study evidences a need to embark upon a larger initiative to collect data on the EMS workforce in the U.S. A report published by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) stated that there will be a need for an additional 40,000 EMS personnel by 2030, in part, because of the recognition of the valuable education, training, and experience individuals working in the EMS field offer in other healthcare settings. This will necessitate an extensive understanding of the nature and reasons for turnover in EMS-related occupations.

SURVEY | Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study

The American Ambulance Association is partnering with Newton 360, an ambulance industry partner and Human Resource support firm, to conduct our fourth annual industry turnover study. Our intent is to comprehensively collect and analyze ambulance industry employee turnover data so as to produce a report that provides useful and actionable data. We are inviting EMS organizations to participate in the study. The study will be conducted and managed by Dennis Doverspike, PhD, and Rosanna Miguel, PhD, who are associated with the Center for Applied Talent Analytics at John Carroll University. Each individual or organizational response will be strictly confidential.

The purpose of the study is to better quantify and understand the reasons for turnover at nearly every organizational level within the EMS Industry. Thank you very much for your time and support.

Laying the Groundwork for Reducing Employee Turnover

Why participate in the survey?

  1. Educate elected officials, municipalities, and healthcare clients. The insight gained from this survey can help influence the actions, practices, or decisions of officials regarding regulatory and funding policies at the federal, regional, or local level. Specifically, this important data can help validate the critical staffing challenges faced by the EMS industry. This year, we continue to have queries related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), to better understand impacts of the PHE on EMS turnover and its related costs.
  2. This study is critical to gaining insight into combating staff shortages. The AAA / Newton 360 2022 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study aims to yield the information that organizations need to identify and benchmark their turnover challenges. Over the years this survey has been conducted, it has generated the largest response to a turnover survey ever published for the private EMS industry.
  3. Participating organizations will have full access to the final report at no charge. The comprehensive results of the study will be shared exclusively with each participating organization. Shorter write-ups and summaries of the results may be shared at conferences or published in relevant periodicals or journals.

Before You Start

It is recommended you gather information about your employees and about turnover before completing the questionnaire.

In this survey, we will be asking about headcount (filled and open positions), number of employees leaving the organization, and reasons for employees leaving. We will be asking these questions for each of the following job categories: supervisor, dispatch, EMT, part-time EMT, paramedic, and part-time paramedic. Headcount refers to the number of filled and open positions for each job category at the end of 2021. Filled positions refer to the number of employees in each job category that were on payroll at the end of 2021. For each job category, the number of filled positions should be added to the number of open positions at the end of 2021 to determine the total headcount.

The survey can be accessed by following the link below. It will open on July 5th, 2022, and close at end of day, July 15th, 2022.

https://johncarroll.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3gtyd4SaQnkevvU

Thank you,

Scott Moore, Esq.
Newton 360
Workforce Dynamics, Inc.
(781) 236-4411 office
(781) 771-9914 cellular
www.newton360.com

 

EMS1 Webinar | Navigating a path to career satisfaction

Limited options for professional growth and the lack of a clear career path are barriers to recruitment, retention and career longevity.

The EMS Burnout Repair Kit series, presented by EMS1 and Zoll, equips individuals at all levels in EMS with tools for dealing with the primary sources of burnout, helping them emerge as better, happier providers and more complete people.

In this installment, a panel comprised of individuals representing different career paths in EMS and leaders from progressive agencies will discuss resources for career advancement and resiliency, how to find the path that is right for you, and how agencies can support providers in advancing their careers.

Join the live discussion, March 1 at 1 p.m. CT

Register Free

Meet the speakers 

Carly Alley

Carly Alley is the executive director for Riggs Ambulance Service in Merced, California. Earlier in her career, Alley served as a firefighter-EMT in the U.S. Forest Service while earning her paramedic certification. After being hired by Riggs, she transitioned to the agency’s tactical EMS program, where she spent 10 years as the team leader before moving into administration.

Michael Fraley, BS, BA, NRP

Michael Fraley has over 25 years of experience in EMS in a wide range of roles, including flight paramedic, EMS coordinator, service director and educator. Fraley began his career in EMS while earning a bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University. He also earned a BA in business administration from Lakeland College.

When not working as a paramedic or the coordinator of a regional trauma advisory council, Michael serves as a public safety diver and SCUBA instructor in northern Wisconsin.

John (JP) Peterson, MS, MBA

JP Peterson is the newly appointed executive director at Mecklenburg EMS Agency (MEDIC) in Charlotte, North Carolina. He started his career as an EMT in Chicago in 2000 and most recently served as vice president of Florida operations for PatientCare EMS Solutions.

He is licensed as a paramedic in Florida and North Carolina, and holds National Board Certification as an occupational therapist. He has completed Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification and is a graduate of the American Ambulance Association, Ambulance Service Manager Course. JP received the Pinellas County Commissioner, John Morroni Award for first responders in 2013.

JP is a past president of the Florida Ambulance Association. He is a member of the North Carolina Association of EMS Administrators as well as the AAA Bylaws, Professional Standards and Ethics committees.

Bloomberg Radio | President Baird on the Workforce Shortage

Fantastic Bloomberg Radio interview with President Shawn Baird covering key causes and impacts of the EMS workforce shortage.

Balance of Power Podcast • Browse all episodes
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2022-02-11/balance-of-power-ems-worker…
Balance of Power: EMS Worker Shortage Crisis (Radio)

Shawn Baird, President of the American Ambulance Association, discusses the shortage of emergency medical workers and paramedics. He spoke with Bloomberg’s David Westin.

Listen Now

Congressional Letter on the EMS Workforce Shortage

October 1, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell & Minority Leader McCarthy,

Our paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), as well as the organizations that they serve, take on substantial risk every day to treat and transport patients that call 9-1-1. But our nation’s EMS system is facing a crippling workforce shortage, a long-term problem that has been building for more than a decade. It threatens to undermine our emergency 9-1-1 infrastructure and deserves urgent attention by the Congress.

The most sweeping survey of its kind — involving nearly 20,000 employees working at 258 EMS organizations — found that overall turnover among paramedics and EMTs ranges from 20 to 30 percent annually. With percentages that high, ambulance services face 100% turnover over a four- year period. Staffing shortages compromise our ability to respond to healthcare emergencies, especially in rural and underserved parts of the country.

The pandemic exacerbated this shortage and highlighted our need to better understand the drivers of workforce turnover. There are many factors. Our ambulance crews are suffering under the grind of surging demand, burnout, fear of getting sick and stresses on their families. In addition, with COVID-19 halting clinical and in-person trainings for a long period of time, our pipeline for staff is stretched even more.

The challenge is to make sure that the paramedics and EMTs of the future know that EMS is a rewarding destination. Many healthcare providers have extensive professional development resources, but that simply does not exist for EMS. COVID-19 has put additional pressures on the health care system and added another layer of complexity to the emergency response infrastructure.

HRSA EMS Training Funding

Fortunately, there are immediate and long-term solutions. Although the provider relief funds are essential and helpful to address the challenges of the pandemic, we need funding for EMS that addresses paramedic and EMT training, recruitment, and advancement more directly. The Congress can provide specific direction and funds to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help solve this workforce crisis. Those funds can be used to pay for critical training and professional development programs. Some of our members have already begun offering programs and would benefit from additional funding support from HRSA. Funding public-private partnerships between community colleges and private employers to increase the applicant pool and training and employment numbers through grants could overcome the staffing deficit we face.

Paramedic and EMT Direct Pay Bump

In addition, more immediately targeting funds for EMS retention could address the shortage we are experiencing day to day. To help ambulance services retain paramedics and EMTs, we request funds through HRSA to be paid directly to paramedics and EMTs. These earmarked funds could be distributed to each state with specific guidance that the State Offices of EMS distribute the funds to all ground ambulance services using a proportional formula (per field medic).

COVID-19 Medicare Reimbursement Increase

With capitated payments by federal payors, there are limited funds to transfer into workforce initiatives. Increasing Medicare payments temporarily would be meaningful to compete with other employers and other jobs. This could help infuse additional funds into the workforce and create innovative staffing models that take into account hospital bed shortages and overflow.

Congressional Hearings on EMS Workforce Shortage

The workforce shortage crisis facing EMS spans several potential Committees of jurisdiction. This critical shortage is particularly felt in many of our rural and underserved communities. As Congress moves on the steps we have outlined above, we also urge you to organize hearings in the appropriate Committees to develop long-term solutions and focus the country’s attention on these urgent issues.

Thank you in advance for continuing to ensure that our frontline responders have the resources necessary to continue caring for our patients in their greatest moment of need, while maintaining the long-term viability of our nation’s EMS system.

Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Shawn Baird
President
American Ambulance Association

Bruce Evans
President
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians

Survey for EMS Educators | Please Share!

Please share this email and survey link with EMS education providers in your area! If your ambulance service operates its own training program, please also complete the survey on its behalf. Thank you for helping us gather this critically important data!

 

Dear Education Partner/Collaborator,

As a leader in Emergency Medical Services and a member of the American Ambulance Association, the Association leadership is trying to better understand the current challenges regarding the new and current workforce. One of our goals this year is to better understand the impact that Covid-19 has placed on education institutions offering programs in emergency medical services.

Therefore, I am requesting your help in completing a short survey and answer five short questions through the link below to help gather data and try to determine the short- and long-term effects we might expect because of any potential disruption in the graduation or completion of future students entering the field of EMS?

SURVEY: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/227TKTK

We appreciate your time and effort towards helping us better understand the future of our EMS workforce and begin building more solutions to try and recruit and retain our workforce for long term sustainability. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly or contact the American Ambulance Association’s CEO, Maria Bianchi at mbianchi@ambulance.org.

Thanks for considering.

Your Name
Your Title
EMS Service Name

Employee Turnover Survey Due 5/6 | iPad Raffle!

AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study

The American Ambulance Association is partnering with Newton 360, an ambulance industry partner and Human Resource support firm, to conduct our third annual industry turnover study. Our intent is to comprehensively collect and analyze ambulance industry employee turnover data so as to produce a report that provides useful and actionable data. We are inviting EMS organizations to participate in the study. The study will be conducted and managed by Dennis Doverspike, PhD, and the Center for Organizational Research at The University of Akron. Each individual or organizational response will be strictly confidential.

The purpose of the study is to better quantify and understand the reasons for turnover at nearly every organizational level within the EMS Industry. Thank you very much for your time and support.

Laying the Groundwork for Reducing Employee Turnover

Why participate in the survey?

  1. Educate elected officials, municipalities, and healthcare clients. The insight gained from this survey can help influence the actions, practices, or decisions of officials regarding regulatory and funding policies at the federal, regional, or local level. Specifically, this important data can help validate the critical staffing challenges faced by the EMS industry. This year, we added queries to the survey related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to better understand impacts of the PHE on EMS turnover and its related costs.
  2. This study is critical to gaining insight into combating staff shortages. The AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study aims to yield the information that organizations need to identify and benchmark their turnover challenges. Over the years this survey has been conducted, it has generated the largest response to a turnover survey ever published for the private EMS industry.
  3. Participating organizations will have full access to the final report at no charge. The comprehensive results of the study will be shared exclusively with each participating organization. Shorter write-ups and summaries of the results may be shared at conferences or published in relevant periodicals or journals.

Before You Start

It is recommended you gather information about your employees and about turnover before completing the questionnaire.

In this survey, we will be asking about headcount (filled and open positions), number of employees leaving the organization, and reasons for employees leaving. We will be asking these questions for each of the following job categories: supervisor, dispatch, EMT, part-time EMT, paramedic, and part-time paramedic. Headcount refers to the number of filled and open positions for each job category at the end of 2020. Filled positions refer to the number of employees in each job category that were on payroll at the end of 2020. For each job category, the number of filled positions should be added to the number of open positions at the end of 2020 to determine the total headcount.

Take Survey by May 6

Share your data by MAY 6 and you will be entered to win an iPad! No purchase necessary.

Employee Turnover Survey | iPad Raffle!

AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study

The American Ambulance Association is partnering with Newton 360, an ambulance industry partner and Human Resource support firm, to conduct our third annual industry turnover study. Our intent is to comprehensively collect and analyze ambulance industry employee turnover data so as to produce a report that provides useful and actionable data. We are inviting EMS organizations to participate in the study. The study will be conducted and managed by Dennis Doverspike, PhD, and the Center for Organizational Research at The University of Akron. Each individual or organizational response will be strictly confidential.

The purpose of the study is to better quantify and understand the reasons for turnover at nearly every organizational level within the EMS Industry. Thank you very much for your time and support.

Laying the Groundwork for Reducing Employee Turnover

Why participate in the survey?

  1. Educate elected officials, municipalities, and healthcare clients. The insight gained from this survey can help influence the actions, practices, or decisions of officials regarding regulatory and funding policies at the federal, regional, or local level. Specifically, this important data can help validate the critical staffing challenges faced by the EMS industry. This year, we added queries to the survey related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to better understand impacts of the PHE on EMS turnover and its related costs.
  2. This study is critical to gaining insight into combating staff shortages. The AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study aims to yield the information that organizations need to identify and benchmark their turnover challenges. Over the years this survey has been conducted, it has generated the largest response to a turnover survey ever published for the private EMS industry.
  3. Participating organizations will have full access to the final report at no charge. The comprehensive results of the study will be shared exclusively with each participating organization. Shorter write-ups and summaries of the results may be shared at conferences or published in relevant periodicals or journals.

Before You Start

It is recommended you gather information about your employees and about turnover before completing the questionnaire.

In this survey, we will be asking about headcount (filled and open positions), number of employees leaving the organization, and reasons for employees leaving. We will be asking these questions for each of the following job categories: supervisor, dispatch, EMT, part-time EMT, paramedic, and part-time paramedic. Headcount refers to the number of filled and open positions for each job category at the end of 2020. Filled positions refer to the number of employees in each job category that were on payroll at the end of 2020. For each job category, the number of filled positions should be added to the number of open positions at the end of 2020 to determine the total headcount.

Take Survey by April 30

Share your data by April 30 and you will be entered to win an iPad! No purchase necessary.

PA | $20,000 Signing Bonus, $25/Hour—Zero Applicants

From JEMS 

Cumberland Goodwill EMS (PA) hang up a help wanted sign, but no one answered.

Assistant Chief Nathan Harig tells ABC 27 they’re seeing a shortage of paramedics and are trying to hire a paramedic for an open position. One problem: not one person applied despite the agency offering a $20,000 signing bonus and $25 per hour pay.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to motivate people to come on in but it’s just not working,” Harig told the station.

Continue Reading>

CBS | EMTs Are Quitting Their Jobs

From CBS News | “Emergency medical technicians are quitting their jobs — COVID-19 makes it too dangerous

Rather than expose himself to a stream of infected patients in Queens, Baer opted to retire last month, ending his career at least a full year earlier than he’d planned. That disqualified him from collecting his full pension, and Baer estimates he gave up between $2,000 and $4,000 a year in retirement benefits — a decision he doesn’t regret.

Continue Reading►

Nominate Your Rising Leaders! 40 Under 40 Due Jan 31

The American Ambulance Association is seeking nominations for its inaugural Mobile Healthcare 40 Under 40! This is your opportunity to recognize exceptional rising leaders as the future of EMS.

Nomination Instructions

To submit a nomination, please complete the form below. Nominations are due January 31, 2020. Incomplete nominations cannot be considered.

Timeline

Nominations are due January 31, 2020. Incomplete nominations cannot be considered. Honorees will be selected by the AAA Membership Committee and announced in February 2020.

Selection Process & Criteria

Honorees will be selected based ONLY on the information provided in their nomination form. Nominees should have contributed to their organization, state ambulance association, AAA, other professional associations, and/or the EMS profession in an extraordinary way beyond faithful completion of job duties. Please be sure to include detail about the nominee’s impact to date and future promise.

Please note that nominees must be under 41 on December 31, 2020 (meaning that they cannot turn 41 in 2020). No specific job role or title is required for consideration.

Recognition

Honorees will be recognized on the American Ambulance Association’s website and social media platforms. Winners will also receive complimentary registration to the 2020 AAA Annual Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada November 2–4.

Thank you for helping AAA recognize the young leaders of EMS!

Build Your Future with a Career in EMS

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects career opportunities for EMTs and Paramedics to grow another 15 percent by 2026, far outpacing most other professions… With EMS agencies hungry for skilled providers, there has never been a better time to chart your career path in mobile healthcare.

This week, an editorial from AAA President Mark Postma was featured in a special Media Planet section on healthcare careers. Read the full article►

How to Stand Out Using Low-Cost Recruitment, Retention Strategies

Scrolling through Facebook, I regularly notice EMS providers seeking feedback from friends and colleagues. Someone will post, “Hey, I’m moving to this city. Does anybody know some good ambulance services that are hiring?” Plenty of people will respond, “This is a pretty good place.” Others share warnings such as, “Don’t work for Provider X.” Word of mouth can be valuable for any EMS. What current and former employees say about their positive work experience is a major benefit to recruitment and retention. In order to ensure a top-notch service to customers and to attract top-tier employees, recruitment and retention must be at the top of the to-do list. This is important for both public and private EMS departments. With negative word of mouth, unless somebody is desperate to get a job, “Provider X” in the example above won’t receive a second look from applicants. While some services use salary as a major recruitment and retention tool, it’s not the only way to stand out. There are various low-cost strategies to employ when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees.

Moving on up

Opportunities for advancement are one attractive benefit. In a fire service, providers often begin their tenure as a fire service paramedic. They can take a test to become a paramedic lieutenant. If a space opens up, a person can test to be a paramedic captain or eventually paramedic chief. In private ambulance services, the organizational structure is often different. Provide an infrastructure for improvement is of the utmost importance. For many professionals, that upward mobility is gained through education. Offering more knowledge benefits both parties and has an impact across the continuum of care. The advanced education benefit allows providers to offer better care and to communicate better with colleagues in other healthcare disciplines about a patient’s care. This builds loyalty among employees toward a service that continues to invest in their skills.

Some organizations may avoid providing education while on the clock. Advanced planning ensures coverage while expanding the team’s skills. Work with your team to determine the most convenient time and day for the provider and the EMS to obtain educational opportunities.

Learning curve

An EMS department can offer a number of educational opportunities — starting with all the necessary courses to maintain certification — to expand a provider’s knowledge.
Some of the options include the following:

  • Tuition reimbursement for college
  • Flight paramedic, critical care or tactical paramedic certifications
  • Critical care continuing education

These certifications make providers, and the service they work for, stand out above the crowd. Think of the added benefit of saying, “All of my paramedics are critical care paramedics.”

To recruit or to retain

So what comes first – recruitment or retention? That depends on the needs of an individual service. If a service, for example, is 10 people short, filling those spots is paramount. If there aren’t any open spots, concentration turns to keeping the providers you have satisfied and offering the best service possible. These providers are valuable because they are most familiar with your area, contracts and how your service does business. Whether recruitment or retention is the goal, the following perks may help candidates choose your organization over competitors:

  • Free uniforms
  • Recognition awards, dinners, picnics and other company events
  • Colleague referral programs
  • Discounts for services and products, such as gym memberships, travel, etc.
  • Tax breaks for EMS volunteer hours (in some states)

While some services rely on a quick increase in salary as their only tactic, recruitment and retention is impacted by much more. Finding and incorporating multiple ways to value your providers and their contributions is the most beneficial path to follow.

Coming soon for AAA members: Employee Background Screening

Attention AAA members! The American Ambulance Association is teaming up with Sterling Backcheck, the country’s largest and best-respected employee background screening company. AAA members receive deeply discounted pricing, as all background checks for AAA members are treated as one “client.”

Contact Peter.Mulherin@sterlingbackcheck.com for a fast free evaluation today!

(Learn more about the Sterling Backcheck difference.)

HUD Program Gives 50% Mortgage Discounts to EMTs & Paramedics

Are you familiar with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door program? Please share this with your medics, if you haven’t already.

Good Neighbor Next Door

Law enforcement officers, pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians can contribute to community revitalization while becoming homeowners through HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program. HUD offers a substantial incentive in the form of a discount of 50% from the list price of the home. In return you must commit to live in the property for 36 months as your sole residence.

How the Program Works

Eligible Single Family homes located in revitalization areas are listed exclusively for sale through the Good Neighbor Next Door Sales program. Properties are available for purchase through the program for seven days.

How to Participate in Good Neighbor Next Door

Check the listings for your state. Follow the instructions to submit your interest in purchasing a specific home. If more than one person submits an offer on a single home a selection will be made by random lottery. You must meet the requirements for a law enforcement officer, teacher, firefighter or emergency medical technician and comply with HUD’s regulations for the program.

HUD requires that you sign a second mortgage and note for the discount amount. No interest or payments are required on this “silent second” provided that you fulfill the three-year occupancy requirement.The number of properties available is limited and the list of available properties changes weekly.

To learn more, please see our Good Neighbor Sales Frequently Asked Questions!

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