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NEMSAC considers federal recognition of ‘Paramedic Practitioner’

The graduate degree position in clinical paramedicine is meant to alleviate recruitment and retention losses


National EMS Advisory Council

By Bill Carey

WASHINGTON — The National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) has adopted a draft advisory on the creation of graduate-prepared Paramedic Practitioners, to be federally recognized as practitioners by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Congress.

In their advisory, NEMSAC stated that recruitment and retention problems, as well as insufficient funding, are central to workforce compensation, which many EMS professionals cite as being inadequate and a key reason for leaving EMS.

The new, optional role of Paramedic Practitioner within the national EMS educational system is intended to complement – but not replace – the role of technician paramedics. The role is defined as paramedics who possess a graduate degree in clinical paramedicine from an accredited college or university. NEMSAC adopted the draft advisory in August. It then must be voted to Interim status in November, and then Final status in February 2024.

This advisory states that federal recognition of these individuals as “practitioners” by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and by Congress would be a powerful driver of increased recruitment and retention of paramedics, expanded access to community paramedicine services nationwide, and improved financial sustainability of EMS services.