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Addressing the gaps: EMS response to OB care deserts

Drs. Tracy Coffey and Ashley Huff discuss geographic inequities and extraordinarily long transports

Pregnant woman having pregnancy pain in the morning

Close up of Pregnant woman having pregnancy pain in the morning

vorDa/Getty Images

This year has brought many changes in the care provision landscape for obstetric patients. As with many aspects of care, access to maternity care is inequitable by geographic location. Legislative changes in the last year have exacerbated these geographic inequities and EMS is called upon to help meet the needs of patients in these challenging circumstances.

In one state, Tennessee, EMS is seeing extraordinarily long transports and, due to legislative changes, physicians are facing potential prosecution for treating patients. Join us for this episode of The EMS Educator podcast, as we discuss protocol and just-in-time educational needs, psychosocial aspects of care and collaborative efforts between EMS and OB in this arena.

Special guests on this episode include Tracy Coffey, MD, FACOG, OB/GYN, who is department chair and medical director of Women’s Services at Tennova Healthcare Clarksville, Tennessee; and Ashley N. Huff, MD, FACEP, FAEMS, who is an emergency physician and Air Evac Lifeteam/Global Medical Response EMS Medical Director in Tennessee.

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Prodigy EMS brings you EMS education reimagined. Join us for relevant, high-quality discussions around the best practices in EMS education. You’ll find interviews with experts in EMS, education, medical direction, leadership, and more. Earn CAPCE credit at and explore our library of courses. Follow @ProdigyEMS on Twitter, FB, YouTube and IG.

Hilary Gates, MAEd, NRP, is the director of educational strategy for Prodigy EMS and is a consultant for 410 Medical, Inc. She is a volunteer paramedic in the Alexandria (VA) Fire Department and teaches in the School of Education at American University in Washington, D.C., and in the Emergency Medicine program at University of Pittsburgh. Beginning her career as a volunteer EMT with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Montgomery County, Md., Gates became a full-time paramedic, EMT instructor and FTO at AFD, and then served as senior editorial and program director for EMS World. Gates implemented AFD’s MIH/CP program in 2017 and has extensive experience as an EMS educator, symposium presenter, and quality improvement trainer.

Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. Currently, he works on both coasts in part-time roles as director of strategic implementation of PRO EMS Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as executive director of the California Ambulance Association. Rob is also the principal of Robert Lawrence Consulting. He previously served as the chief operating officer of Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California, and COO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Rob also writes and podcasts at EMS1, is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board, and co-hosts the popular FirstWatch “Conversations that Matters” web series. Rob is a former board member of the American Ambulance Association and currently serves as chair of its Communications Committee and as a member of the media rapid response task force, providing media response to national industry-related news inquiries.