With permission – the following is an email from a paramedic with whom I have a great deal of respect for. He and I have had conversations regarding the state of EMS in New Jersey. Fear of reprisals from his employer is the reason his identity having been removed from this email. This Paramedic has also discussed the number of other New Jersey paramedics with similar frustrations. We have also discussed the issue of this individual coming on-board under an alias and using this blog as a conduit and public forum to help institute change to a very broken system.
This paramedic’s email follows:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I can certainly understand your frustrations with the system since you are a direct recipient of the final product as the squads roll into the ED each and every day. I myself am appalled by the way things are run, particularly in clinical oversight, education length and quality, as well as policies and procedures. Unfortuneatly, there is nothing, you, I, nor anyone at the Department of Health level can actually change, due to the restrictive legislature that gives us the authority to operate is antiquated and limiting in it’s wording, rather than being enabling and progressive.
What really blows my mind is that the system we currently operate in does not mandate any minimum standards for providers (mainly BLS, as ALS is in my opinion OVER regulated), does not require an ambulance to be licensed by the Department of Health nor meet any minimum standards, nor mandate minimum response times. Better yet, EMS in New Jersey isn’t even considered an essential service like police, fire, and municipal services are. It’s simply, sickening.
Like I told you, there is a bill that we are trying to pass which will overhaul the EMS system in NJ, and change A LOT of things. This is in response from a outside consulting company that spent quite some time in the state, auditing the way our EMS system is running, and what we can do to improve it. I have included a copy of the report as well as a copy of the bill, which is a response to the system report in this e-mail. In a nutshell, the report stated that the NJ EMS system in a “state of near collapse.”
The main opponent to this overhaul bill is the New Jersey State First Aid Council, which we so affectionately call “The First Grade Council.” I am thoroughly convinced that they are the sole reason EMS in NJ is so backwards and antiquated. If they are allowed to maintain any type political or lobbying power, there is no way we can progress into the 20th century here, let alone the 21st century. They oppose a two EMT minimum standard, increasing the amount of time an EMT class takes to complete (we’re trying to comply with the new National Scope of Practice with this bill), allowing the Dept. of Health full authority over the operation of an ambulance, as well as many other things. Too many to list actually. However, if this passes, the Council will basically be rendered powerless, and we can finally move on, without them.
Here is a link to the TriData report that was done on the EMS system a few years back. Verrrry interesting.
Here is a link to the bill they want to pass. They’re hoping to put it in front of the governor by the end of the month. But don’t hold your breath.
Here is a link to the website that all the stakeholders in the new bill setup in support of the bill.
On the “The Issue” page, there is a short commentated video that explains what the bill is going to accomplish.
I hope this gives you some interesting reading. Talk to you soon!
->Signature and Name withheld.