Blocked by the NAEMT

Blocked by the NAEMT

Oct 2, 2019

Yup, your eyes are not deceiving you.  I have been blocked by the NAEMT.  But before I get into what is going on right now, let me give you a bit of background.

Back in 2010, I started this little blog as a free Blogspot website lamenting about issues that I felt were important in EMS.  I made friends.  I became part of the EMS 2.0 movement and I took an interest in the National Association of EMTs.  The big draw from me was the large-scale advocacy that they were doing in Washington DC for EMS on the Hill day.

I attended three of those EMS on the Hill days while I was living in Massachusetts.  I even wrote an article on grassroots advocacy for the NAEMT newsletter.  I became a State Advocacy Coordinator for Massachusetts and I was even approached by officials from NAEMT asking me to run against and hopefully unseat a long-standing Regional Director in the Northeast.  I contemplated doing it, as I felt it was time for a change of representation in the region where I was living.  A few months later though, I decided to relocate to Delaware which would move me to a different region anyway, so I declined the offer to run.

Once I moved out of Massachusetts, I worked with the Advocacy Coordinator in Delaware for a short time but had trouble cracking the tight knit group down here.  There were no issues or hard feelings, it just did not work out and that was fine.  I was acclimating myself to a new area and a new EMS system.  I eventually just let my NAEMT membership lapse.

About four years ago I signed on to the EMS Compass project aimed at determining and utilizing different measures to try and try an quantify and qualify how good we are at this whole EMS thing.  It was an ambitious undertaking.  Very ambitious.  A few things became evident rather quickly.  There was a lot that needed to be done. There was even more that could be done.  And there would be people and organizations who would probably not like the results, and some opposed it.

NAEMT was one of those organizations that came out in opposition of EMS Compass.  That pretty much sealed the deal on any thoughts of rejoining.  My desire to move our industry forward, and establish a deeper rooted, career-oriented environment outpaced theirs, if it even existed.

Fast forward to late 2018.  NEMSMA and some other organizations released a position paper in favor of creating an advanced degree requirement for paramedics.  It is a debate that has almost been constant for the last year with the American Paramedics Association birthed from its advocates.  NAEMT decided to share their position in January 2019.  It was lukewarm at best.  To sum it up, they felt “advanced education” should be acquired through continuing education, most likely in the form of more merit badges like, for example, NAEMTs’ own Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support class.

I wasn’t happy and I tweeted my feelings: “Any feelings that I had of rejoining @NAEMT_ just went right out the window.  I am so disappointed in an organization that I used to be an active part of.  They just showed us that they are a non-player in issues important to the development of our field.”

I followed that tweet up by sharing this tweet that contained another member’s resignation letter.  After that, I did not pay much attention to anything that NAEMT was involving themselves in.

I have had a long standing nearly eight year group text message exchange with some good friends that I have made during my journey through the EMS corner of the internet.  One of them pointed out to the rest of us that he had been blocked by NAEMT.  We chuckled about it and I decided to check for myself and who would have guessed, I was blocked as well.  And we weren’t alone.  A few other people came forward, and we all seemed to have one thing in common: we were in favor of the degree requirement for paramedics.

A friend who is currently running for an executive board spot with NAEMT reached out to me with some simple questions like “has anyone reached out to you to tell you why you are blocked” which they had not, and when did I find out? Which was just last week.  I appreciate him, as he is one of the people who I feel could start fixing things if he can garner the votes.

So there are some internal questions that I feel need to be answered at this point.  Am I angry at this?  No, not even a little bit.  Am I surprised by it?  Somewhat.  You would think an organization as large as NAEMT with their mission would encourage open discussion on issues.  Am I disappointed in them?  Absolutely.

The biggest thing that I find myself wondering is, did they vet me prior to blocking me?  Did anyone take a look at the NAEMT membership dossier to see if Scott Kier was listed as an active dues paying member, or did they just see my Twitter account tweeting something critical of a position that they took, and they dropped the ban hammer without a second thought?

The bio on NAEMTs twitter profile says “The mission of NAEMT is to serve EMS practitioners through advocacy, educational programs and research.”  They claim to represent me whether I am a member or not, but they choose not only to not hear what I have to say but they prevent me from reading how they are attempting to act in what they feel is my best interest.

My department requires me to have PHTLS as part of my alphabet soup so money is going to their organization in my name.  I considered becoming a PHTLS instructor as well.  That idea is not an option for me at this point.

I await any reply from NAEMT.  If they want dialogue, I am happy to have it with them.  They know how to contact me, as they have done it in the past.  In the meantime, who else is in the same boat as me?