NAEMT issues call to action, demands federal COVID-19 support for EMS

The association has published an op-ed, and sent a letter to Congress and the White House urging immediate action on a list of EMS needs


By Laura French

CLINTON, Miss. — The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) has issued a call to action and sent an open letter to federal leaders demanding needed support for EMS agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NAEMT President Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, NREMT, said in an emailed statement on Thursday that necessary relief for EMS has not been provided at the federal level despite long negotiations with leaders in Washington D.C. and more than 10,000 letters from EMS practitioners urging their representatives to take action.

The National Association of EMTs has sent an open letter to Congress and the White House demanding action on a list of critical EMS needs during the COVID-19 crisis, saying necessary funding and protection for EMS and EMS personnel have not yet been provided despite extensive negotiations with federal leaders.
The National Association of EMTs has sent an open letter to Congress and the White House demanding action on a list of critical EMS needs during the COVID-19 crisis, saying necessary funding and protection for EMS and EMS personnel have not yet been provided despite extensive negotiations with federal leaders. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“It’s time to take this fight to the streets!” Zavadsky said in the email.

The letter sent to Congress and President Donald Trump from Zavadsky on behalf of the NAEMT emphasizes that the relief funds already provided and included in the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate this week will go to state governments and hospitals, and “do not trickle down to EMS.”

The letter adds that EMS agencies “receive little to no funding” from programs including the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund and Assistance to Firefighter Grants, and concludes with a list of actions Zavadsky says leaders must take in order to sustain the nation’s EMS systems and protect EMS providers across the country.

These actions include:

  • Reimbursing all EMS agencies for overtime wages and additional costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Giving priority access to COVID-19 testing, PPE and prehospital medicines to EMS personnel
  • Reimbursing EMS providers with children for the costs of childcare
  • Providing direct funding to all EMS agencies to purchase ventilators, other medical equipment, and ambulances
  • Allowing the use of the A0998 HCPCS code for EMS to transport patients to appropriate healthcare facilities other than hospitals in order to free up hospital beds
  • Ensuring all EMS personnel are covered in COVID-19 provisions by specifically including “Emergency Medical Services, Providers and Personnel” in the language of any legislature or government action

The letter was also published as an op-ed and sent to publications and networks including “The New York Times,” “Washington Post,” FOX and “The Wall Street Journal.”

The NAEMT provided letter templates for supporters to continue sending to their representatives and encouraged supporters to post on social media, talk to local government officials and tell their neighbors about the pressing issues facing EMS.

The call to action comes one day after the NAEMT issued a statement, shortly after the Senate passed its stimulus package, decrying the lack of funding for EMS and protection for EMS personnel as some EMS systems are “on the brink of collapse.”

Letter to Congress Leaders

 

Letter to President Donald Trump

 

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