Thank you to the 11,307 signees of the Petition to Provide A Federally Mandated Minimum Wage For Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics. Unfortunately, the petition fell short the number needed that would have required a response from the White House by 88,693.
Despite failing to secure enough signatures, I believe there are some important take aways from this that we should carry into the future.
Reaching Consensus Is Still A Problem
Back in January of 2011 Skip Kirkwood authored an article called EMT or Paramedic?, where he revealed the results of a survey of what EMS providers thought we should be called in the press. Once compiled the outcome clearly illustrated that we lack consensus.
Although economics and reimbursement are slightly more complex subjects to agree on, the comments clearly illustrated that we still lack consensus. There were calls for the extermination of volunteers, tax increases, the fleecing of whatever profit a private company earns, and raising educational standards. The educational standards grouping then forked into different areas within itself, shattering the number of those in agreement even more. With every solution offered examples of both success and failure can be found.
While we do not believe that there is a single solution, we do believe that a combination of changes can result in the change we would like to see. The real problem isn’t necessarily finding the combination, but getting everyone to agree on it.
Minimum Wage Or Not, Agencies Are Collapsing
The news last week that TransCare collapsed into Chapter 7 liquidation that was then joined by the news this week that Falck was withdrawing from the state of Pennsylvania at the end of June is evidence that even without the mandated minimum wage, agencies are collapsing.
The case for higher reimbursement has never been stronger. While we believed that a mandated minimum wage could bolster that argument by illustrating the positive effect the increased (for most) wage would have on a number of industry areas (recruitment, delivery, retention) while reinforcing the economy, not enough people believed the same. The reimbursement argument reverts back to being the old argument of needing higher reimbursement for fuel, supplies, insurance, and general operating costs. The old argument hasn’t worked well so far and I am unsure why we continue to think it will.
We Remain Our Own Worst Enemy
While there were a number of supportive comments, there was an equal if not greater number of dissenting voices. The more disturbing aspect were the voices that failed to demonstrate respect for the other opinion. If you are unable to respect another provider’s opinion, why would the government/public respect your own? We remain our own worst enemy because we fail to respect our peers, regardless of their certification level or agency type, and demonstrate that we lack tolerance for our own.
I have said it many times before (my latest in #5), but for a profession with a mission to care for others we do a poor job of caring for ourselves. We need to change that if we ever want anything in the industry to improve.
We would like to once again thank the 11,307 signees of the Petition to Provide A Federally Mandated Minimum Wage For Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics. We continue to believe that by improving the quality of life for EMS providers, both while on and off duty, will result in improving the industry as a whole. We will continue to work to that effect. Feel free to leave any of your ideas in the comments… but please, be nice.
Stay safe and be well,