As I stated in a previous post, I was recently named the State Advocacy Coordinator for Massachusetts by the National Association of EMTs. After my experiences in Washington, DC at EMS on the Hill Day I felt that I would be a good fit for the position and I am really excited about it. Helping push the progression of EMS at a national level and being able to lobby for issues important to EMTs everywhere is a great honor, and quite the responsibility.
I am not alone in my undertaking of this venture. There are twenty other individuals from around the country who have also been named as their state advocated. Among them are a few names that might be familiar. If you look over the list of advocates broken down by state, you will notice that the State of Louisiana is being represented by Natalie Quebodeaux, better known in the internet community as Ms. Paramedic. A few lines down, right above Massachusetts you will see that my friend William Random Ward, a fellow FRN Blogger is representing Maryland. Even further down, the name Jon Blatman is listed as the representative for Pennsylvania. Jon is known on Twitter as JonEMTP and is a fellow EMS 2.0 supporter.
Four of us out of twenty, one out of every five state representatives is involved in some way in Social Media and EMS 2.0. That is a pretty good percentage, and a pretty great start. What is alarming though is that thirty states and the District of Columbia remain unrepresented. NAEMT is still taking applications, and I’m throwing out a challenge to all of my readers: get out there and help us make a difference!
Have you ever thought about the importance of lobbying, and what these state advocacy coordinator positions could give to us?Â EMS is lacking a unified voice. We have no way to get our message out there as one collective group. On that day in early May, I got to see how effective working together can really be. Almost one hundred and fifty individuals meeting with their states representatives to advocate for change. The three topics were noble ones: an increase in Medicare reimbursement for ambulance services, the Dale Long Act which deals with EMS line of duty deaths, and the D-Block frequency allocation (which, coincidentally, has already been passed).
With more money from Medicare, there’s a better chance that lower level providers get paid more. With the Dale Long Act, we can better provide for our families should something tragic happen, and with the D-Block frequencies, we have a chance to fix one of the glaring issues that still remains since September 11, 2001. Those are some pretty big issues, and it is our responsibility to make sure that the people who cast the votes have as much information as possible at their fingertips.
If you’re not already a member, I urge each and every one of you to join NAEMT, and look into the available advocacy positions, especially if there is one for your state. The four of us who are already in our state’s positions are excited and motivated to get working. Now, we just need some people to jump on the train with us. It should prove to be quite the ride.
Click here to see a list of State Advocacy Coordinators. If your state is already represented, send them an email and say hi. Make sure they know who you are.