In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS, its practitioners and the important work they do in responding to medical emergencies. Back then, EMS was a fledgling profession and EMS practitioners were only beginning to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the public health safety net.
A lot has changed over the last four decades. EMS is now firmly established as a key component of the medical care continuum, and the important role of EMS practitioners in saving lives from sudden cardiac arrest and trauma; in getting people to the hospitals best equipped to treat heart attacks and strokes; and in showing caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments, is firmly established.
Whether it’s the team at Grady EMS in Atlanta who had the expertise to transport the nation's first Ebola patient, the volunteer firefighters and flight medics called to search for and rescue survivors in the Everett, Wash. mudslide or the thousands of EMS responses that happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and don't make the news, EMS is there for their communities at their greatest time of need.
New NAEMT-ACEP EMS Week Partnership
This year, NAEMT is pleased to announce a new partnership with the American College of Emergency Physicians on a national EMS Week promotional campaign, known as EMS Strong
. By joining forces with ACEP, NAEMT will continue to work toward ensuring that the important contributions of EMS practitioners in safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of their communities are fully celebrated and recognized.
That has never been more important, given the changes in healthcare that are occurring as part of healthcare reform. With the nation seeking ways to control healthcare costs while improving the health of patients, and the way in which medical care is paid for shifting from a system that rewards the volume of services provided to one that rewards high quality, effective care, EMS is proving that it is dedicated to solving the nation's healthcare challenges through innovations such as Mobile Integrated Healthcare and Community Paramedicine.
EMS: The Evolution Continues
As the role of EMS continues to evolve, there is no better moment to celebrate how far EMS has come, to remind communities about the vital work of EMS practitioners, and to lay plans for where EMS wants to go in the future.
Whether celebrated with a company cookout or a catered lunch; an open house, an awards ceremony or even quiet reflection about what it means to be an EMS practitioner, EMS Week is the perfect time to recognize EMS and all that its practitioners do for our nation.