I really think the fire service missed an excellent opportunity when it came to the recently signed health care reform bill. Regardless of your political position on whether the legislation is a good or a bad thing, I believe we missed a tremendous chance to change how EMS is delivered by the fire...
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The last time there was this type of major legislation was in 1965 with the passage of Medicare. Before that, it was Social Security in 1937. Landmark legislation does not come along very often.
It may be too late for the fire service — or maybe not. The news is filled with reports of other bills being introduced and possibly a repeal of this legislation by the Supreme Court after the states get done making their case. If that happens, maybe they will start all over again or modify the existing legislation. However, I think we as a fire service can do better than what we did, as we are such a major player in health care delivery in this country. The question remains — is it too late?
GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He has 32 years of fire-rescue service experience. Ludwig is chairman of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has a master's degree in business and management, and is a licensed paramedic. He is a frequent speaker at EMS and fire conferences nationally and internationally, and can be reached through his website at www.garyludwig.com.