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Inside EMS Podcast: Is fire-based EMS better than private EMS?

Chris and Kelly also discuss why Medicare officials are temporarily blocking Philadelphia-area ambulance companies from becoming eligible for reimbursements

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This week, hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson join forces with Fire Chief Rob Wylie and Lt. Rom Duckworth's The Command Post podcast to debate private vs. fire-based EMS.

“I grew up with fire-based EMS and it offers a seamless integration at all levels of a tiered system,” Lt. Duckworth said.

Kelly questions Lt. Duckworth’s ability to keep up with the ongoing changes in medical care and his department’s ability to serve both entities equally.

“The chore of keeping up-to-date with that knowledge and skill is a full-time job all by itself. How do you do that?”

Lt. Duckworth admits the challenges behind fire-based EMS, but emphasizes specialization is key within departments. However, Kelly says fire-based EMS is often shoved onto patients and questions whether it’s best for them.

“If I can have an EMS service that also, when those fires pop up, then I can pull those guys in and that’s a better bang for our citizens’ buck,” Chief Wylie said. “I also agree with Kelly, because is there enough time to do both?”

Chris points to past situations where fire-based EMS providers wouldn’t let private EMS responders administer patient care.

“A lot of it comes from the culture of the different agencies,” Lt. Duckworth said. “It’s extremely difficult if there’s been a previous culture of animosity and friction, but you have to take it one step at a time. But you don’t let that stuff interfere with the actual patient care.”

Kelly agrees with Lt. Duckworth and says the system works well when both sides of the equation want to be a part of something greater.

Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned on the show:

Responders rescue Fla. woman, 23, stuck in tree

Feds crack down on Philly Medicare fraud

Mass. medic loses job for not becoming firefighter

Video: Double amputee completes EMT training

Firefighters, EMTs grant dying hospice patient's last wish

How Obamacare can boost fire-based EMS revenue

Wash. cities call for fire-based EMS

Learning to fish: Fire-based EMS leadership lessons

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