Medline joins EMS providers for 12th annual EMS Day on the Hill
Medline team members advocate for key issues impacting industry
By Medline Newsroom Staff | April 28, 2022
In mid-April, more than 20 Medline employees representing nearly 20 states joined emergency medical service (EMS) providers at the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) annual EMS Day on the Hill to meet members of Congress and advocate for key issues impacting EMS operations. Forty-nine states were represented during this year’s virtual event, which included 241 meetings with Congressional representatives.
The meetings addressed critical issues affecting the EMS industry, including the staffing shortage and the need to recruit a new generation of EMS workers. Currently, there are not enough EMS employees to adequately serve all parts of the country, and rural areas are struggling to fund training and equipment assistance. Even outside of rural areas, EMS providers are seeing low recruitment in apprenticeship programs, leading to less EMS providers entering the workforce to provide care. For this reason, EMS Day on the Hill participants asked Congress to include EMS eligibility for existing federal grants that support apprenticeship programs, and ensure EMS access to federal grants targeting the development of the healthcare workforce. Congress recently allocated $1.5 billion through the American Rescue Plan to the Department of Health and Human Services to address the healthcare workforce shortage, but these funds are not available to EMS agencies and fire departments.
“It is important for Medline to stand side-by-side with EMS providers and advocate for issues that are greatly impacting the future of the industry,” said Rhonda Baliff, Medline EMS division manager. “In the years since we have started participating in the event, we are excited to see multiple product suppliers take action in EMS Day on the Hill. It is critical that we demonstrate solidarity in order to drive momentum in solving these issues.”
This year’s EMS Day on the Hill saw the largest participation in its 12 years. Chris Way, a fire chief in Kootenai County, Idaho and treasurer on the NAEMT Board of Directors, shared insights on the evolution of EMS Day on the Hill.
“The EMS sector continues to face more challenges and the last few years since the beginning of the pandemic have opened our eyes to issues that were on the horizon, but have since manifested to the surface,” said Way. “We are grateful for the participation from suppliers like Medline. The partnership transcends into EMS providers and suppliers understanding the operational challenges each one faces. Advocating for each other can help lead to more fruitful solutions that drive enhanced delivery in patient care.”
While the labor shortage was a dominant conversation topic with Congressional members, Way shares that Medicare reform in support of ground ambulances is an important measure that needs to be prioritized by government leaders.
“In order for EMS providers to run a sustainable business in the future, we need to recognize that there has not been a drastic Medicare reform in nearly 30 years. The way we run our organizations has evolved significantly, and the way we get paid must also in order to continue delivering high quality care to communities.”
Learn more about how Medline is supporting EMS providers.