Take action: Tell Congress what EMS needs to battle COVID-19
NAEMT President Matt Zavadsky: Keep the pressure on Congress to ensure EMS personnel are covered in all applicable COVID-19 provisions
The coronavirus war rages on and the casualties of EMS first responders are mounting.
As of this morning, 11,615 fire and EMS personnel have suffered an exposure to COVID-19; 5,161 are in quarantine and 406 have been diagnosed with the virus, according to the International Association of Fire Chief’s online tracker.
EMS providers are fighting as hard as we can to maintain effective services to our friends, families and the communities we serve. All of us in EMS now understand the gravity of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and its effect on our communities, our agencies, our lives, and the lives of our families, friends and colleagues.
PPE shortages, lack of priority COVID-19 testing for first responders, and, tragically, deaths of first responders related to the coronavirus are being reported by local and national media outlets.
Last week, NAEMT members, joined by other EMS professionals from across the country, participated in our Advocacy Request to Congress asking that the “Phase 3” federal COVID-19 legislation include direct support for EMS for priority supplies, testing and financial relief.
Over 15,000 emails were sent to members of Congress. NAEMT also sent a letter to key Congressional leaders and the President outlining our needs, published a national press release describing our dire situation, and conducted interviews with national press.
We made some progress, but the Phase 3 COVID bill passed by Congress and signed by the President last Friday did not provide direct funding relief or protection to our nation’s EMTs and paramedics.
It’s time to turn up the volume so that Congress and the President can clearly hear what we need!
Please join in the advocacy efforts to support our people, and our systems! Post on social media, share your stories, talk to your neighbors, talk to your city councils, call or write your local and state elected officials, and take 3 minutes to send a note to your congressional reps using the Online Legislative Service.
Let’s all keep the pressure on Congress to:
- Give priority access to PPE for EMS personnel
- Give priority COVID-19 testing for EMS personnel and their families
- Give priority access to EMS agencies for vital prehospital medications
- Reimburse EMTs and paramedics for the cost of daycare for EMS personnel with children
- Reimburse all EMS agencies for overtime wages paid to employees and additional costs necessary to provide emergency medical services during the public health pandemic
- Provide direct funding to all EMS agencies for ventilators and other needed medical equipment
- Provide direct funding to EMS to purchase ambulances
- Allow use of the A0998 HCPCS code for EMS to respond and transport to the appropriate healthcare facility, not necessarily the hospital, freeing up hospital beds.
- Ensure all EMS personnel are covered in all applicable COVID-19 provisions by specifically including Emergency Medical Services Providers and Personnel
The battle is fierce, but together we can win this war!