1/06/2010 11:50:00 AM

What should be the appropriate behavior?

What should the behavior be?
I have been in EMS for over 25 years and it continues to amaze me that so many of the providers seem to have a grossly jaded view of what EMS is all about. Too many seem to be of the mind that EMS is short for “Earn Money Sleeping” and further seem to be offended when a call drops out for them. While I concede that most of EMS is anything but an emergency, a significant portion of the newest providers of care fail to recognize that regardless of acuity, it is our job to safely and quickly respond to those who call for our service. Additionally I find it remarkable that a lot of the providers are apparently without the compassion that is so important in our industry. As an industry I believe that we would do well to initiate a pre test, if you will, that measures aptitude. Such aptitude tests should be designed around the realities of EMS today.
Anyone who has been in our business for any length of time realizes that the majority of our calls are for relatively minor issues that do not require emergency service or assistance at any level. One would also note that in calling for EMS when it is not truly a matter of life, limb or eye sight results in decreasing the available resources that might be available for those who really need them. Interestingly, I have observed over the years that as a “Rule of Thumb”, those who should call 911 don’t and likewise, those that should not, do call 911.
If this is not already bad enough, it is equally true for air services as well. The air service with which I am familiar also suffers from being called when alternative means or modes of transportation would be more prudent. The difference in this case though is that the caller for service is most often one of those who should know better, specifically field emergency crews and physicians.
As our country continues to struggle with Health Care issues, a major portion of which is the cost, I am amazed that those in decision making positions do not take steps to first educate folks on the reason and rationale for calling for any service and then follow with implementing solid game plans for dealing with inappropriate calls for service.
I am not ignorant of the concerns of the private sector “For Profit” companies nor their concerns for superior Public Relations coupled with Superior service. It is my observation that too often, we as a society tend to need immediate results and more specifically greater profits, presumably resulting from greater market share that usually brings greater revenues. What I fail to see all too often is that in the push to increase market share, revenue and profit, there seems to be less if any attention paid to the consequences of an exclusive focus on such goals. In particular I mean that if you go for greater market share, revenue and profit without simultaneously seeking to assure greater efficiency and effectiveness you never really effect any change regarding the system abuse.
It is my thought that if we aggressively address the system abuse issues, the end result would be greater profit rather quickly and then when one increases market share and subsequent revenues the profit margins would be much greater relative to where they are now.

Now back to the care provider. We as an industry should be much more conscientious about aptitudes of those that we are bringing into the fold. Most I believe would agree that a large part of the care we provide is better received and often more effective too than the same care provided without compassion and real concern. How? Positive, relaxed patients generally respond better than those who are anxious and everything else except positive.
My point is simply this….. In all of the cases above, if we behaved as we would if the people we were serving were our mother, would we not all be better off? Would we call for EMS when we really did not need to if our mother would not have those services available because we are using them? Would we subject our mother to the huge expense of air service over ground service if it were not prudent and a truly time sensitive issue.

Thank you for your time. Stop by my website at www.rcmedic.com

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