Reports & Resources

Learning to Dance with an Elephant: 10 Harmful Realities of Modern EMS

We asked the members of the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA) what they thought were the most critical issues plaguing EMS. Though members acknowledged significant concerns, including patient safety, fiscal sustainability and caregiver well-being, there were still some unrecognized elephants in the room that no one wants to see, hear or talk about. Here are those 10 harmful realities of modern EMS and proposed strategies to overcome them.

Three Things A Fire Chief Should Know About Evidence-Based Fire Suppression

Evidence-based practice in emergency services is typically associated with medical care; but the term refers to the application of research methodology to guide operational practice and departmental priorities—something that should apply to fire suppression and rescue operations as well. Historically, however, fire service protocols and procedures have developed through trial and error, best practices and tradition.

Fire Service Fatigue: A Problem You Can’t Afford to Ignore

In the hours after a train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people, news reports were already stating that the engineer’s recent work schedule would be examined. This wasn’t surprising, given that just weeks earlier, the National Transportation Safety Board stated that operator fatigue was partially to blame for another train crash that occurred in Chicago last year. Anyone who’s worked in the fire service knows that fatigue can impact one’s work performance. In the aftermath of major incidents, we don’t always focus on fatigue as a factor—and it’s often extremely difficult to know just what role it plays when it comes to vehicle crashes, fireground injuries, or medical errors. One thing is clear, however: employee fatigue impacts every fire department, no matter how big or small, or what type of shift schedule. It’s an issue that no fire chief should ignore.

How is your Communications Center Performing?

What the question really means: Evaluating your communications center’s performance is about more than whether the center is private or public, staffed with sworn or civilian personnel, or a single-agency or multi-agency dispatch center. The cornerstone of assessing your communications center is the use of evidence-based standards rooted in industry best practices—and analyzing the impact they have on your department’s operations.

Scrutiny of Ambulance Operations Highlights Need for Compliance

Increased attention on ambulance use demonstrates the need for compliance plans to include emergency and non-emergency ambulance operations. The HHS OIG has published voluntary compliance program guidance for ambulance suppliers. Ambulance billing should reflect the care provided by the EMS personnel, not the hospital diagnosis of the patient. Training for billing personnel and EMS providers on documentation and billing for ambulance services is often inadequate. Ambulance suppliers should conduct regular claims reviews to ensure problems are identified and corrected prior to an audit.
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