The Future of EMS: What’s In a Name?

The Future of EMS: What’s In a Name?

By Scott Cravens, EMT Apr 01, 2013

Momentum is building as we head toward the first Mobile Integrated Healthcare Summit scheduled to be held at EMS World Expo in September of this year. Currently, EMS has a brief window of opportunity to expand its role, but if we hesitate, others are already strategizing on how they can take advantage of legislative changes to become more integrated into the continuum of healthcare in this country.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article titled “Hospitals Try House Calls to Cut Costs, Admissions.” The article suggests a “hospital-at-home” model where they send out “teams of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists.” Seriously? The reason hospitals are looking at spending money outside of their doors is because last October the feds started withholding payments to hospitals with high readmission rates for patients with CHF, pneumonia and MIs. So administrators are quite motivated to seek ways to avoid such recurrences.

Some folks are advocating that we engage hospital and ACO administrators to help prevent readmissions in a more economical way, and I wholeheartedly agree. That’s what’s being done in places like Reno, NV, Wake County, NC, Eagle County, CO, and Minnesota. In Fort Worth, TX, MedStar EMS recently changed its name to MedStar Mobile Healthcare to better convey the services it provides to the public.

As we consider an expanded role for EMS, should we also consider a name change that would better convey our core competencies to allied healthcare practioners and the public? To that end, EMS World is conducting a poll on what that name could be. If nothing else, we hope the survey spurs dialogue for a more effective and productive way to care for our communities. If we fail to act on this historical opportunity, we will only have ourselves to blame. Share your thoughts at

Scott Cravens, EMT-B, is the publisher of EMS World Magazine and

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