Another Year- You’re Still Here!

By Chuck Humphrey, B.A., EMT-B, CAC, CACO, CADS, *

Ems Weeks 2022

EMS Week 2022

EMS Week 2022 is here!  Another year and you’re still here.  

Each time we pause to celebrate your accomplishments as an EMS provider, manager, administrator, volunteer, career staffer…whatever role you play…it’s a celebration of how much you give to your neighbors each and every day.

Third Pandemic Go-Round

EMS Week 2022 marks the third such celebration in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Your heroics, perseverance and selfless dedication is unparalleled in modern EMS history.

Each year, as the pandemic progresses, the superheroes cape that you wear becomes bolder, more noticeable and more pronounced.  And yet, there are still many individuals in your community that see and hear you wiz by on yet another emergency run that just have no clue what the rigors of your daily life are.

That’s okay…when they need you…they’ll understand!

A Plea for Help!

More than any time that I am aware of, the cry for help is sounding across America.  The pandemic has slowly turned a spotlight on EMS and what we do every day.  There is a swelling plea for help at all levels of government.

Louder than your siren wailing are the voices of the informed calling out the dwindling number of EMS providers.  Our nation’s leaders are awakening to the fact that you can flip a burger for more than you can be paid to save a life.  When the box store sticker greeter takes home a larger paycheck than the guy or girl that intubates a dying patient, it’s time for all of the decision-makers to wake up!

We are an essential service.  We are no less valuable than our brothers and sisters in the fire service and certainly no less valuable than law enforcement.  Your thin line equates to the thin red and blue lines and it’s time our elected officials take notice.

We cannot continue to operate the EMS rig on $300 – $400 per call when our average costs to raise the garage door and respond equates to $500 – $600 per run.  And, don’t tell me that we should suck it up and sell another bar-b-que chicken dinner.  There aren’t enough chickens to make up the difference.

We need Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement that, at least, meets our costs to provide the service and we need legislators that are willing to stand-up to the insurance lobby so payments equate to the essential service we provide.  We need local lawmakers that are willing to step out and raise tax dollars to support and properly fund our mission.

All of this needs to happen BEFORE it’s too late.

Medic- Heal Thyself!

When I think about the amount of stress each of you have experienced in the midst of this pandemic, I always incorporate an encouragement to all of you to take care of yourself.  If you can’t heal yourself then you’ll be of no healing help to those you serve.

It’s no secret that we have seen a frightening uptick in the suicide rate amongst EMS providers.  Our mental health is being assaulted.

Please don’t brush this off. 

I know that we all like to think that we are made of mental Teflon, but the nightmares and the anxiety attacks tell me otherwise.  Sleep deprivation, improper eating habits, unhealthy physical health patterns, mega-stress impingement, mask-wearing, frustration and even fear all mount up quickly and silently until that one day when everything comes crashing down upon us.

Today is the day to talk to someone.  Pick up the phone.  Pull the arm of your partner.  Visit your human resources office, chief, manager, shift leader…someone…and/or call a mental health professional today.

Don’t “tough” it out!

One more statistic is one less EMS provider and we cannot afford to lose a single person to the demons that plague our psyche.  

Thank Your Family

Aside from the exhortations above, here is an action item for you.  Take two minutes right now and THANK YOUR FAMILY!

Hug your spouse a little tighter.  Kiss your kids (even if they think you have cooties!)

Your stress can become their stress.  Your bad call should not become their worry.  Your stressful day cannot be resolved in their space. 

Of course, talk to your spouse about your day.  Share with your kids about how rewarding and yet frightening the day was for you.  But, for heaven’s sake, don’t forget that they see you, they know you, they worry about you and they are there for you.  Be there for each other.  Consider how they support you and love you and care for you.  Remember, they are the nearest and dearest to you and they will feel whatever it is your giving off in the way of residual effects.

 

If not for you, then who?

And with that…I end with this.  I celebrate you!

Look, I turned 60 years old this year.  I’ve had the honor and distinct pleasure of serving in the field and in the office for 36 of those 60 years.  I would have chosen no other career path.  It is a high calling to do what you do.  

I’ve learned a lot of lessons…some harder than others…and you have and are and will learn them too. Those lessons define you and make you stronger.  I look back and realize just how much God blessed me with the ability to cheat the reaper and make a difference in the lives of my neighbors and friends.

Never forget, if not for you, then who?  

Happy EMS Week 2022.  Shine like the star that you are…and…BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

 

*Chuck Humphrey is the Senior Director of Compliance and a Territory Sales Manager for Quick Med Claims. He is one of our industry experts with over 30 years of experience in the EMS industry.

 

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