OK, so there are some issues with staffing availability with Rural/Metro.
Primarily this is connected to a recent rule change for EMTs in the state from August 2014, according to Rural/Metro staff, that requires people on ambulances to be level II EMTs instead of level I EMTs – which is how it used to be.
If you want to get far into the weeds on the rules that regulate ambulances and their staffing, check out the state rules here.
If you want it put simply, the gist is that there have been a string of issues causing the county to say “hey, what’s up?” And Rural/Metro reacted, said some of the concerns are just false, others are more nuanced, and yes, there is a problem with staffing.
And as it goes, there’s more to untie. As Tom Milton, community relations director for R/M said earlier, the change in state regs was most likely done with good intentions.
Also, state officials say that the change was done to keep in line with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National EMS Scope of Practice Model. It’s worth showing the introduction to the issue:
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel treat nearly 20 million patients a year in the United States. Many of these patients have complicated medical or traumatic
conditions that require considerable knowledge, skill, and judgment to be treated effectively in the out-of-hospital setting. Some are critically ill or injured, and the proper
care can literally make the difference between life and death. For most patients, their crisis may not be a matter of life or death, but it is no less significant to them and their
family. High quality out-of-hospital emergency care is an important part of the United States health care system.
As of 2003, there were 840,669 certified out-of-hospital care personnel in the United States (Lindstrom and Losavio, 2004), and the nation’s annual expenditure for EMS
topped $6.75 billion (Sayer, Brown et al., 2001). Emergency Medical Services are diverse and complex systems. Until now, there has not been a national system to aid
States in the evolution of their EMS personnel scopes of practice and licensure. In 1996, there were at least 44 different levels of EMS personnel certification in the United States
… you can see how that set up an effort to have some kind of consistency among departments. So let’s look at the next coupla grafs:
As part of this project, a survey of all of the States and territories was conducted in 2005. Of the 30 States and Territories that responded, we were able to identify 39 different licensure levels between the EMT and Paramedic levels. This patchwork of EMS personnel certifications has created
considerable problems, including but not limited to:
• public confusion;
• reciprocity challenges;
• limited professional mobility; and
• decreased efficiency due to duplication of effort.
The EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach (2000) identified the need for a National EMS Scope of Practice Model as one of five components of an integrated, systematic approach to regulation of EMS education, certification, and
licensure. This system will help ensure safe and effective out-of-hospital, emergency care. It relies on a “hand-in-glove” relationship between competency certification and
professional licensure. The development of the National EMS Scope of Practice Model is part of the continued commitment to realize the vision of the EMS Agenda for the Future
and the EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach.
You can read the rest at your leisure.