Next up in this week’s EMS news is what is being called a “landmark decision” in labor laws for Australian paramedics. This story from ABC Canberra news reports that the Fair Work Australia commission ruled that Australian paramedics are health care workers and not transportation workers meaning that they are entitled to more pay under the health care system.

U.S. Paramedics Need Similar Healthcare Recognition

paramedics_workThis is something that most EMS providers here in the United States have been saying for some time. We in EMS are part of the health care system and not the public safety or transportation system. Just because we respond to 911 calls and transport patients on wheels or by air to the hospital doesn’t mean that we don’t provide healthcare to the patients and deserve to be compensated for that care.

According to one paramedic representative this recognizes the “high skill and very complex nature of the work paramedics carry out.” I agree and hope that a similar realization strikes here in the United States. Of course it’s not as simple as a ruling from the federal government since our health care system is private and government managed but look at the successes of care in systems in the UK and Germany by paramedics there and then see what could be if we only compensated our EMTs and paramedics appropriately.

Mobile Integrated Healthcare the First Step

Thankfully, we are seeing some movement with the changes brought about by the mobile integrated healthcare movement also called community paramedicine. Systems like Medstar Mobile Healthcare in Fort Worth, Texas and others are implementing new ways to work with the existing healthcare systems and get paid to do so.

We all need to continue to push for more recognition by our healthcare partners and working with them to find ways to save them money and bring more funding into EMS care. In the meantime, Kudos to Australia for recognizing the work their paramedics do there.

Followup on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – ACLS Review of Adenosine and MedicCast Episode 399.

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