Communities Rally Around EMS Providers

Communities nationwide honored the commitment and sacrifice of emergency medical professionals last week, with many calling for the nation’s largest private EMS provider to start respecting its workforce.

From Missouri to California, EMS workers spoke with residents and local officials about their mission to improve patient care at American Medical Response (AMR). High employee turnover, aging ambulances and equipment, and long hours are all too common with private EMS providers such as AMR. Because these issues can put the public at risk, emergency medical professionals are determined to gain a voice at AMR to make sure quality patient care always comes first.

In Missouri, EMT Robert Mills and Paramedic Joey Ford addressed these issues before the Independence City Council.

“As the population of Independence grows, so does the number of emergency calls,” said Mills. “It’s important, now more than ever, that we have an open dialogue between EMS personnel and the city —  and between EMS personnel and our employer, AMR.”

Ford added, “We aim to improve AMR for our patients, our families, and your families. With your help, we can get it done.”

Their colleagues at AMR in Riverside County, California, took that message to a local health fair where more than 150 residents signed cards in support of their mission. Many were surprised when they learned of AMR’s 28 percent turnover rate last year.

“We want to raise awareness about our profession and our mission,” said Paramedic Brian Corona. “When people understand what we do, they’re willing to stand with us.”

Negotiations with the company resume in early June, and it’s time for AMR to listen. The licensed professionals working on the front lines every day need a voice at AMR to improve patient care, and residents who depend on their services agree.

Click here to read President Lee Saunders’ EMS Week column in the Huffington Post.