Finally in the news this week, a story I picked up written by Dr. Seth Hawkins, who we’ve had here on the show before. Seth is a former EMS 10 innovator award winner and is a medical director in western North Carolina. He wrote an article recently, carried in the local newspaper and news site, talking about the undervalued EMS worker in that state.
Underpaid for What EMS Does
Seth points out that the amount of money most EMS professionals earn is not in line with the type of skills and education level that they have achieved in their profession. He compares paramedics to nurses, who he also says are also underpaid. But, Seth shows that even nurses are making more money than Paramedics.
In the article, North Carolina paramedics supporting a family, earned just about $7000 above the poverty level, according to national standards. They work unusual hours, as we all know, and many of us in the EMS world work more than one job as an EMS professional to make ends meet.
Educating the Public About EMS
I like this article not just because it’s written by somebody I know, but also because it is a great way to educate the public about what we do, how we do it, and how little we get paid for doing it. Seth goes on in his article to talk about EMS and medical directors and how their system is underserved even though it is clearly part of the well-paid healthcare system they bring patients to.
He urges the readers of his article to get their legislators to support federal legislation that implements Institute of Medicine recommendations on including EMS in Medicare and other billing programs for services other than merely transporting patients. I urge you to read this article and send it to your medical director and leadership.
Perhaps your leaders should consider writing a similar article in their local newspaper or on local news websites. We are only as good, in the public’s eyes, as the last time they saw an ambulance drive by if we don’t educate them about what we do.
Follow-up on the link for this and other news items as well as all of the additional resource links in the show notes for this episode – Epinephrine EMS Med Review and Episode 337.