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Home > Topics > EMS Advocacy
December 13, 2011
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Another reflection on EMS advocacy

Regardless of whether you support it, at this moment it is expensive to conduct EMS advocacy

By Arthur Hsieh

After my column about EMS advocacy last week, I received a private email response. After speaking with its author, I received permission to reprint parts of it here:

What must the rank and file medics at EMSA think about this? Do they get their cars washed and detailed during their shifts? Do they get meals paid for? Of course not.

This guy is simply riding the wave of executive privilege and loving it. All these expensive dinners, parties for retiring executives, schmoozing with others in the field, are just so much corporate crap. They do it because they get away with it. And they should not. He should have to repay every cent of what he spent on these things.

We have a crisis of confidence in America today because ordinary folks like medics who work for EMSA see themselves made peons by the privileged executive class. While I don't side with the Occupy Wall Street folks (they have no message, no thrust), I am acutely aware of the differences in pay between the executive class and the working class.

I don't have any idea why Mr. Williamson deserves the salary he gets, nor any of the other executives at EMSA. I expect they are all vastly overpaid. If they actually manage to keep the company going, that's one thing, but if it's still going after they spent these egregious amounts of money on creature comforts, then a pox upon them.

I fundamentally agree with the philosophy of the author. We do have large income disparities in our country; capitalism promotes and engineers that process. Spreading the wealth is essentially a socialist agenda. Yet it does seem unfair that critical occupations in our country are paid so little compared to those that pay so much. Given our country's culture today, it's not reasonable to expect that those who have it will be generous with those who don't. And that, my friends, is the true crux of our political debate today. We won't move forward in this country until there is resolution on this issue.

Back to the original column: Regardless of what your perspective is, at this moment it is expensive to conduct this type of business. Can we do better? Absolutely — take a look at the National Association of EMTs "EMS on the Hill" day.

We peons can participate in a day of advocacy for our profession, though it will still cost a few dollars to fly and stay in Washington. Or, keep politics local and visit your legislator's offices in your district. You might not meet the individual, but staff may be more important in meeting and presenting your agenda.

As always, I appreciate your thoughts and views. Send them in!

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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