EMS on the Hill Day is Just Around Corner

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A little over a month from now, EMS personnel from across the country will be responding to the nation’s capital.

The annual EMS on the Hill day is set for March 5-6, and NAEMT officials say registration is going well.

“The 112th Congress ended with two big wins for EMS,” said Don Lundy, NAEMT president.

They include extending PSOB benefits to personnel who volunteer or are affiliated with non and not-for-profit EMS companies should they be killed in the line of duty.

That has been a priority of NAEMT for several years.

Also passed in the waning hours was temporary Medicare ambulance relief that includes the following increases for ambulance providers -- urban, 2 percent; rural and super rural, 3 percent. They also delayed the 2 percent cut to Medicare providers as part of sequestration.

Lundy said while NAEMT is pleased with these, there’s no time to sit back. There are new challenges ahead.

NAEMT has taken the lead to promote passage of the EMS Field Bill, Lundy said, adding that the proposal includes several key features.

The measure calls for the creation of a single EMS agency that should be part of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “We need one voice for EMS,” Lundy said in a recent interview with EMSWorld.com.

He added that the organization feels the agency belongs under HHS because “the M in EMS afterall is Medical.”

The proposal also includes a number of grant opportunities as well.

Other parts of the bill include:

  • Improved Quality and Accountability: Enhancing Field EMS quality by promoting the development of national guidelines for medical oversight by physicians of field EMS, promoting high-quality medical direction and maximizing participation and training of physician medical direction, evaluation by GAO of medical liability and reimbursement issues that may impede medical direction, enhance data collection and analysis to better inform the provision of high quality field EMS, development of a path toward integration of field EMS medical reports into patients electronic medical records.
  • Evaluation of Innovative Delivery Models: Evaluating innovative models for access and delivery of field EMS for patients, including alternative dispositions of patients for whom transport to the hospital is not medically necessary.

Going to the Hill to speak with legislators is not only about lobbying, but also educating them about what EMS does, Lundy said.

“This is a perfect opportunity for people to meet with the legislators, and to tell them about what they do…”

Meetings are set ahead of time, and each group is provided packets of information to leave in their representative’s office. Sheets with key talking points also are available.

Lundy said NAEMT also will be pushing for PSOB to be extended to providers who work for private and contract ambulance agencies.

More information on EMS on the Hill can be obtained from NAEMT.