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The crucial connection: Field providers and legislative engagement

Five ways to shape policies that enhance patient care, streamline operations and provide a safer working environment

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In the fast-paced world of EMS, where split-second decisions can make all the difference, it’s easy to focus solely on the immediate demands of patient care. However, for EMS field providers, understanding and actively participating in their state’s EMS legislative efforts is equally paramount. This engagement serves as the backbone for a well-functioning EMS system and ensures that providers have the resources, support and legal frameworks necessary to excel in their life-saving roles.

One of the primary reasons for EMS providers to delve into legislative matters is the direct impact it has on their professional landscape. State EMS regulations and laws govern various aspects of prehospital care, ranging from scope of practice and licensure requirements, to equipment standards and protocols. By staying informed and engaged, EMS providers can contribute valuable insights to the legislative process, helping shape policies that enhance patient care, streamline operations and provide a safer working environment.

Moreover, legislative involvement empowers EMS providers to address systemic challenges within the field. Issues such as workforce shortages, inadequate funding and evolving healthcare landscapes often find their solutions in legislative actions. Active participation in these discussions allows EMS professionals to advocate for policies that address these challenges head-on, fostering a resilient and responsive EMS system.

State EMS legislative efforts also play a critical role in advancing the professional development of EMS providers. Legislative initiatives can pave the way for expanded educational opportunities, continuous training and career advancement. By actively engaging in these discussions, EMS field providers contribute to the creation of policies that support ongoing learning, ultimately enhancing the quality of care they can provide to patients.

Additionally, being aware of and participating in legislative processes helps EMS providers build a sense of professional identity and unity. Legislative issues serve as a unifying force that brings together providers from diverse backgrounds and specialties under a shared goal of advancing EMS as a whole. This collaboration fosters a sense of community, providing a platform for the exchange of ideas, best practices and collective advocacy.

How providers support EMS legislative initiatives

Following are 5 ways to engage in supporting EMS legislative initiatives:

1. Stay informed

  • Regularly monitor updates on state EMS legislative matters through official channels, newsletters and professional associations.
  • Attend legislative sessions, hearings or town hall meetings to gain firsthand knowledge of proposed policies and contribute insights based on practical experience.

2. Join professional organizations

  • Become a member of EMS-related professional associations and organizations that actively engage in legislative advocacy.
  • Leverage the collective strength of these groups to voice concerns, propose changes and support legislation that aligns with the best interests of EMS providers.

3. Network and build relationships

  • Establish connections with local legislators, policymakers and government officials to create a direct line of communication between EMS providers and those shaping legislative decisions.
  • Share personal experiences and insights to humanize the impact of legislation, helping lawmakers better understand the challenges faced in the field.

4. Participate in grassroots advocacy

  • Engage in grassroots advocacy efforts by encouraging colleagues, friends and family to support EMS-friendly legislation.
  • Utilize social media platforms and other communication channels to raise awareness about key legislative issues and mobilize public support.

5. Serve on advisory committees

  • Volunteer to serve on advisory committees or task forces related to EMS within state health departments or relevant agencies.
  • Contribute valuable expertise and perspectives to help shape policies that address the unique needs and challenges faced by EMS providers.

These proactive steps empower EMS field providers to be active contributors to the legislative process, ensuring that their voices are heard and that policies align with the realities of prehospital care.

Michael Loiz is an experienced EMS executive with over 32 years of experience in EMS, education and public safety dispatch. He is currently a paramedic/EMS director for a 911 only, third-service, municipal EMS department, and owner of The Public Safety Consulting Group (PSCG) in Connecticut. He also runs the popular, “EMS Leadership” podcast. Contact him by e-mail. He is currently the NAEMT CT advocacy coordinator and has served as the chair of the Legislative Committee of the CT EMS Advisory Board (CEMSAB) since 2017.