When the New England Journal of Medicine posted a tweet last summer that referred to EMTs and paramedics as ambulance drivers, the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) responded strongly to remind the House of Medicine that our colleagues in prehospital care are essential components of the healthcare system and should be recognized as such.
This practical advocacy for the specialty of EMS medicine and the crucial partnership between EMS medical directors and their physician surrogates in the field underscores the continued legislative advocacy NAEMSP fights for through its lobbying efforts and support of key legislative agendas via its political action committee (PAC).
NAEMSP continues to support a combination of market incentives, legislative mandates, and educational outreach to combat the ongoing shortage of essential emergency medications. This is an ongoing boots-on-the-ground issue that affects every EMS agency in the United States, and it is absolutely critical that we find long-term solutions.
NAEMSP recognizes the highly varied and diverse practice environments of EMS medicine. As such, we have been working to improve prehospital care at the operational and educational levels. Operationally, our Wilderness EMS (WEMS) Committee is working on national guidelines for standard WEMS protocols; our Pediatrics Committee is collaborating with the Transport Medicine Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics to increase efficiencies in neonatal and pediatric transport; and our Mobile Integrated Health/Community Paramedicine (MIH-CP) Committee is working with the TMF Health Quality Institute to improve opportunities for rural EMS providers and their medical directors.
Educationally, NAEMSP successfully collaborated with Jones & Bartlett Publishing to fully revise and update the fifth edition of Sanders’ Paramedic Textbook. We are also in the process of updating our own EMS physician textbook series. Our Medical Direction Overview Course (MDOC) has expanded to military and international versions. This course helps physicians who are tasked with EMS medical direction yet may not have been able to take advantage of full fellowship training in EMS medical oversight.
The growth of our state chapters has been surprisingly rapid and robust, and some are already developing state-specific versions of the MDOC to enhance local knowledge and expertise in prehospital care.
Our International Affairs Committee is getting our spinal motion restriction (SMR) position paper, jointly sponsored by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), translated into Spanish. The original SMR publication is the single most downloaded article ever recorded by Taylor and Francis Publishing, and the Spanish translation is certain to follow as a widely referenced document. The Emergency Preparedness Committee is compiling disaster and mass-casualty resources, including those focused on mitigation of active-shooter incidents, into a single and easily accessible area on our newly redesigned website.
These are but a brief representation of the many facets of excellence being fostered by our dozens of committees and working groups within the organization.
Our biggest educational course offering is, of course, the annual scientific assembly and trade show. The 2020 edition was held January 6–11 in San Diego. It was another packed week of cutting-edge topics taught by and discussed with many of the original authors of innovative and protocol-changing original contributions.
In addition to EMS physicians, each year we welcome EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and all levels of prehospital care providers to join in the enthusiastic evaluation, growth, and maturation of our subspecialty. We pride ourselves on the fact that nearly 25% of our membership are nonphysician EMS practitioners.
For more information on NAEMSP as an organization and the 2021 show as it develops, click on https://naemsp.org/.
David K. Tan, MD, FAAEM, FAEMS, is president of NAEMSP.