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|
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.
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.
Why participate in the survey?
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.
Scott Moore, Esq.
Workforce Dynamics, Inc.
(781) 236-4411 office
(781) 771-9914 cellular
AAA President Shawn Baird shared with @foxandfriends how the #EMS workforce shortage is impacting our communities. Congress must act to provide #heropay and training, and to cut red tape keeping military medics from serving at home! @NAEMT_ @NEMSMAnews https://t.co/sfHOLx3W7c
— AmericanAmbulanceAsc (@amerambassoc) October 12, 2021
Oct. 8, 2021, 12:53 PM EDT
By Phil McCausland
“Companies have had to close, consolidate or come up with new strategies to answer calls, said American Ambulance Association President Shawn Baird, who added that there is simply not enough EMS personnel to cover calls in many parts of the country, especially during the pandemic.”
October 1, 2021
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Charles Schumer
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
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.
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.
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).
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.
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,
American Ambulance Association
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians