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EMS Professionals Persevere In Changing Health Care Environment

2012 EMS WeekWhile the changes in health care continue all around them, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers continue to give vital, quality care, Tony Alexander, EMS Manager for Upper Valley Medical Center, said.

The services provided daily by EMS professionals – both paid and volunteer – are being highlighted during National EMS Week, May 20-26.

This year’s theme is “EMS: More Than A Job. A Calling. “

“I am grateful to the more than 250 EMS professionals in Miami County. We are very fortunate to have a lot of resources in this county,” Alexander said.
In 2011, the UVMC Emergency Department saw 42,693 patients, an increase from 2010 of about 2,000 patients.

EMS agencies that bring patients to UVMC have seen an increase over the past few years of about 12 percent.  In 2011, nearly 8,000 patients were brought to the ED by 9-1-1 responders.

During the week, people are being asked to recognize the EMS providers who, like all health care professionals, are being affected by changes in health care.

“They are working more and more and with less funding and less staffing. It can be stressful,” Alexander said. “This has happened to everybody in health care. They are not immune to the changes.”

Volunteer EMS providers are harder to come by as the role requires extensive time and effort.

To become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) requires 150 hours of class time and four to five months to complete. Those going on to become paramedics have to meet EMT requirements plus another 1,500 hours in the classroom and about two years of training.

“People have to have some ownership in it for the organization’s sole purpose is to help the community in a time of need,” Alexander said. “It is very rewarding from a personal satisfaction standpoint knowing that you made a difference helping someone in their time of need.”

Anyone interested in investigating the possibility of becoming  involved in EMS is encouraged by Alexander to contact their local EMS department. “Several departments depend on community involvement and would greatly appreciate any participation they would be willing to provide,” he said.

For more information on EMS services in Miami County or becoming certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), contact Tony Alexander at the UVMC EMS Education Center at 440-4886.