The Day History was Made

History was made this week in our Nation’s Capital. EMS week might still be more then a week away, but on May 4th, we had what could be best described as our “E-Day.” It was EMS on the Hill Day in Washington DC, and although I didn’t make it there in the capacity that I wanted to, I can say I was there.

The nearly 6 hour drive was worth the lack of sleep, and the time away from home as I had the opportunity to meet some great people, namely Natalie (MsParamedic), Jeramiah (Jeramedic), and Matt (Squirrel325). The bonds that I created with this group in the short time was a great testimony of the passion that we all share for this field that we are involved in.
The first annual EMS on the Hill Day was an event sponsored by the National Association of EMTs intended to give interested EMS professionals a chance to network with each other and more importantly it was a chance to advocate for some issues that were carefully chosen by the organization’s leadership. There were three of them, but the two main ones were the Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement rates, and the establishment of a fund for the families of EMS Professionals who suffer line of duty deaths. In my opinion, they did a great job picking these topics. If they set their sights on more controversial issues, then as a group we ran the risk of seeing too eager at this first event. NAEMT, however, made the right choice and helped establish the credibility of our profession.
The event, as described by Jeramedic was attended by about 140 Representatives from 40 states, and there were some big names in attendance. KC Jones, a ground braking EMS educator was there, and so was past NAEMT President Kenneth Bouvier from Louisiana. I am proud to say that according to my friends who attended the event after “E-Day” both of these EMS Icons were wearing EMS 2.0 Pins! There was also even a Gary Wingrove siting! The one common thread that I found in everything that I read after the event was it was a huge success, and a great job was done by all.
I would also like to recognize the NAEMT staff. I found out about this event very late in its development, and they were willing to squeeze me into the lineup at the last minute. Although ultimately my job schedule prohibited me from participating in the actual EMS on the Hill events, their efforts were definitely appreciated and it won major points with me. Still, however, I was grateful to have the chance to even be in attendance. The atmosphere and enthusiasm was contagious.
Although EMS on the Hill Day was a very positive event, I do have one complaint. At the same time, in the same city, there was another organization there doing the exact same thing that we were. The American Ambulance Association was hosting their annual Star of Life Awards, and were recognizing ambulance providers from around the country for their contributions to EMS in 2009. Here we have a similar organization that represents organizations instead of individual providers was there with the exact same goal as the NAEMT representatives had: increasing EMS awareness with those who represent us every day.
The next step forward should be two fold: We need to increase the number of people attending this great event, and find a way to break down some of the organizational barriers that currently exist in our field. Increased unity will strengthen the message that we are trying to convey. And with every provider and every person that steps on board, our voice will grow stronger.
To read more thoughts on EMS on the Hill Day, check our MsParamedic’s blog, and Jeramedic’s Blog. While my story was very much an outsider’s view of the event, these two did a great job of giving the view from the inside. If you’d like to hear more of my views of what went on, check out the “EMS on the Hill” episode of The EMS Office Hours Podcast hosted by Jim Hoffman.
Finally, think about attending EMS on the Hill Day in 2011. It could be your chance to be part of history. Years from now, we could all be looking at each other and asking “Where were you on May 4, 2010? That’s the day that history was made!”
  • Jeremiah

    It was great to meet and hang out with you. A prime example of EMS being a common bond was the fact that after only "knowing" you for 20 min, we were joking and chatting as if we had been partners or crew mates for years.

  • Jim Hoffman

    This EMS Office Hours and past episodes are available at the blog as well.