New Year’s Resolution: It’s time we all kept one for our Industry

By Gary Harvat, CMTE, EMT-P (RET) *

Well, here we are, a new year underway and with any new year, there comes the plethora of New Year’s resolutions. I always find this somewhat amusing as Americans mentally commit to doing better with varied subject matters including weight loss, being a better spouse, eating less fried foods, volunteering at a food bank, etc. The list is seemingly endless.

These resolutions as they’re called are typically short-term commitments that are well-intentioned but don’t last beyond a week or two. How great it would be if we all kept our resolutions year after year. Or maybe not. Can you recall the last time you made a resolution for the new year and if you actually followed through. I think not. My bet is it fell by the wayside before the clock struck February. Be honest, am I hitting this old nail square on the head?

Writing a list of New Year Resolutions for 2023What is your Resolution?

So, what is our resolution for EMS as an industry in 2023? Is it to do what you can to retain good employees? Is it to ensure a higher level of safety within your organization by conducting daily safety briefings, upgrading your safety policy or is it simply to keep your ambulance service staffed and operational for yet, another year? Sadly, I believe all of these are key but for many ambulance services across the country, simply remaining a viable operation in their community is the one and only resolution. I get it, I understand it, and I see it daily.  

From my vantage point and that of my company, we see the plight of the local ambulance service first-hand. There are so many challenges affecting each and it just seems none of the challenges are easily overcome. For instance, employee retention…what must we do to be recognized as a profession and get quality people looking for long-term employment in our front door? Some may argue pay is commensurate with the job responsibilities, but when you hear that the Ambulance Inflation Factor for Medicare is up, then not really up because of this factor or that, one starts to think it’s no longer a game of sustenance and slow growth but moreover, one of a Bear Grylls survival story.  

So, the previous paragraph is not much of a solid new year’s resolution, is it? Where do we go, what are our hopes and dreams for the local community ambulance and what can we do to fulfill that resolution that we can really follow throughout 2023?

I challenge you…

I do have some thoughts on this matter but, like everything in our industry, it’s a long road and it’s one that all of us must be willing to walk on in the days ahead. My first resolution is to personally make the challenges facing our industry more of a priority with local politicians and State Representatives. They will tell you they’re doing all they can but are they really? I don’t know but I am, at least, going to ask them. I am going to be a squeaky wheel and they will either dislike me or take my concerns about EMS seriously. I am going to inquire, and you should as well. Sending your local State rep or Congress person an email is easy to do these days and believe it or not, they do read emails from their constituents. If all of us take 5 minutes out of our year, I repeat…that’s 5 minutes out of your year, and call their attention to how important it is for a community to have an ambulance service, this may plant a seed in their mind provided enough of asking them. Do this, it’s important and 5 minutes out of a year consisting of 525,600 minutes is only .000951% of your year. I think you can make time for this and if those of you reading this do express concerns to your local representatives, you can sit back and resolve that you tried to get this on their radar screen.  

In the end, we must resolve that EMS is an important public service and needs to receive strong funding. Otherwise, the inevitable is going to happen. For those of who have been in the industry for decades as I have, we are now moving from advocate to consumer. If we don’t take care of this business now, we consumers are going to be in a world of hurt. For now, let’s all be stronger proponents of our industry with not only our local and Federal reps but also our community, our neighborhood, our friends, and our family. We must carry this and be resolute in our intent to help our brothers and sisters that will soon be caring for us as patrons of emergency medical services. We are at a critical juncture so let’s make our New Year’s resolution to help those that will be caring for us tomorrow.  

Gary Harvat is QMC’s Vice President of Client Success and a veteran healthcare provider with over 40 years of emergency medical services experience.

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