Fire Politics: Exercising Influence: A Political Must

In previous columns, I have mentioned the political and operational challenges and opportunities facing fire service-based EMS systems as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) moves through its implementation – which has already started. There is urgency to the...


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• When implemented, ensure an ongoing evaluation, revision and training process is in place to maximize the effectiveness of the system as a whole. This includes communicating effectively internally and externally with all parties involved in an ongoing way.

• For major and/or more controversial issues, this entire process can be most effective when it is done in concert as a labor-management initiative.

The opportunities and transitions coming forth in our fire service-based EMS systems due to the ACA are extremely timely and important. This also provides even more incentive for you, your fire departments, as well as regional and state organizations to join the Fire Service-Based EMS Advocates Coalition. Joining may seem like a minor thing, but it’s not. Your membership as an advocate can be very important as the coalition’s steering committee continues their advocacy on behalf of fire service-based EMS at the national level. Go to www.fireserviceems.com to sign up – and do it today. There is no charge and it’s easy to do.

 

Critical decisions ahead

The implementation of the ACA is going to cause critical decisions to be made in the next one to three years that will impact EMS tremendously for many more years to come. Some of these decisions may end up being as important to fire departments as the decisions their leaders made years ago to get into the fire service-based EMS business in the first place.

As we in the fire service all know, in most fire departments, our EMS service-delivery model is so closely joined and aligned with our fire suppression deployment model that a reduction in EMS resources will also affect fire suppression resources. People in labor and management are going to be sharing much more detail about these issues as they continue to unfold with the phasing-in of the ACA. In the end, the final decisions will be impacted and/or made by elected officials, other policy level decision-makers, community leaders, the health care industry, fire department leaders, private-sector EMS representatives and other stakeholders.

The success of the fire service in influencing those decisions in ways that will be in the best interest of public safety and the effectiveness of our fire departments is critical. Being able to do that effectively as an equal partner with others is not only a reality operationally – it must be a political priority.

 

Dennis Compton presents “Instilling Accountability in Fire Officers” at Firehouse Expo 2013, July 23-27 in Baltimore, MD.