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A look at trends impacting the Emergency Medical Services industry in 2022

Former EMT volunteer touches on critical issues such as staff recruiting, reimbursement and advocacy

More than one million. That is the number of first responders across the country who are the first on the scene when an emergency hits. As October 28th is National First Responders Day, the Medline Newsroom spoke with Rhonda Baliff, Medline EMS manager and former volunteer EMT, on the critical issues facing the profession and the need to advocate year-round for EMS training, education, reimbursement, mental health care and support.

As we start to wrap up 2021 and think about 2022, recruiting staff will remain a hot issue as research shows that nearly one in five healthcare workers have quit their jobs during the pandemic. Growing operational challenges coupled with a pandemic has led to a continued loss of experienced workers.

“The mental health of EMS staff is a growing conversation that cannot be ignored when we think about improving wellness on the job and its impact on staff turnover,” said Baliff.

This is especially true for the millennial generation as a 2019 study indicated that nearly 50% of millennials say they have left a job for mental health reasons.

Pay is a critical factor into recruiting staff, but Baliff says the industry must think strategically about other ways to entice the young generation into an EMS career, and create a healthy workplace environment.

Baliff shares that while recruiting is one of the biggest issues plaguing the industry, helping providers increase reimbursement is also important so they are more financially sound to take care of their staff. Advocacy will be key in order to move the needle on these timely industry conversations.

This past April, 23 Medline employees joined EMS Day on the Hill and participated in conversations with members of Congress around funding for training and equipment assistance and supported legislation that extends critical EMS reimbursement relief for five years. Rhonda stresses that while the EMS industry gathers yearly to speak with Congress members, advocacy needs to be a year-round initiative.

“I encourage providers to seek out state representatives in their district and meet with them regularly to build relationships. These are the individuals who see your emergency service vehicles driving around and are impacted by your organization’s ability to provide services. Meeting with them regularly will help keep the challenges top of mind.”

Learn more about how Medline is supporting EMS providers.