Ask Congress with 3 clicks


Funding, really the lack of funding, is always raised by EMS providers and leaders in any discussion or survey about the top challenges facing EMS now, next month and next year. More funding – through reimbursement, tax collection or grant funding – is also a top solution to the other top challenges facing EMS, including recruitment, retention, pandemic preparedness and response, replacing out-of-date equipment and meeting annual training requirements.

Respondents to the 2020 EMS Trend Report, a collaboration of Fitch & Associates, the National EMS Management Association and EMS1, ranked “Reimbursement” as the second most significant challenge facing EMS. For the first time, reimbursement ranked ahead of “Recruitment of qualified personnel.” A stunning 82% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, “Current reimbursement rates for EMS adequately cover the cost of service.”

EMS on the Hill Day requests to Congress

For 11 years, EMS on the Hill Day has brought EMS professionals to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the EMS profession. This week, 292 EMS providers and leaders, the highest number in the program’s history, from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, are meeting virtually with their senators and representatives as part of EMS on the Hill Day.
For 11 years, EMS on the Hill Day has brought EMS professionals to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the EMS profession. This week, 292 EMS providers and leaders, the highest number in the program’s history, from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, are meeting virtually with their senators and representatives as part of EMS on the Hill Day.

For 11 years, EMS on the Hill Day has brought EMS professionals to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the EMS profession. This week, 292 EMS providers and leaders, the highest number in the program’s history, from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, are meeting virtually with their senators and representatives as part of EMS on the Hill Day. (Photo/Getty Images)

Today, EMS providers and leaders have an immediate and pressing opportunity to improve federal EMS funding. The National Association of EMTs, in collaboration with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Firefighters and the American Ambulance Association, is asking our senators and representatives to support four legislative initiatives that will directly or indirectly improve EMS funding. Those initiatives are:

  1. Permanent Reimbursement for EMS Treatment in Place (TIP)
  2. FY2022 Funding for The Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs (SIREN) Law
  3. H.R. 2354, EMS Counts Act of 2021
  4. H.R. 2454, Protecting Access to Ground Ambulance Medical Services Act of 2021

For 11 years, EMS on the Hill Day has brought EMS professionals to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the EMS profession. This week, 292 EMS providers and leaders, the highest number in the program’s history, from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, are meeting virtually with their senators and representatives as part of EMS on the Hill Day. Participants will meet with more than 85 senators and more than 135 representatives. 

I joined other Wisconsin EMTs and paramedics to meet with legislative aids from the offices of Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Ron Kind. During our Zoom meetings, we were able to discuss the importance of our legislative priorities for EMS, the ongoing need to improve EMS funding and reimbursement, and answer questions the aids had about EMS.

Chief Jon Cohn, Greenfield (Wis.) Fire Department, told the Wisconsin delegation, “They want to hear what we have to say. We are the experts.”

The top question we were asked during our meetings was, “What are specific ways the pandemic has impacted EMS providers and agencies in our state?”

Act now to advocate for EMS funding

One of the best ways to improve EMS funding is to visit with, call or email your senators and representatives. The NAEMT Online Legislative Service makes it easy for you to send an email in support of this year’s EMS on the Hill Day legislative priorities. Every message from an EMT, paramedic, EMS officer or chief, or friend of EMS makes a difference. Please help the 292 EMS on the Hill Day participants in supporting these initiatives.

1. Permanent reimbursement for Treatment in Place (TIP)

On March 10th, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2). Section 9832 (S.149/H.R. 1609) of the legislation provides HHS with the authority to issue an emergency waiver of the requirements for ground ambulance providers and suppliers to allow reimbursement for the healthcare services provided when a community-wide EMS protocol prohibiting transport is in place. As with the other COVID-19 waivers, Congress did not restrict the timing of the waiver, so it can be implemented retroactive to March 1, 2020, as CMS has done when implementing similar waiver authority passed by Congress during this pandemic. We thank Congress for taking this action and greatly appreciate this waiver during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). We request that reimbursement for EMS treatment in place be made permanent.

Act now to share your support for the permanency of TIP.

2. Increased funding for SIREN Act grants in FY2022

The SIREN Act passed both Houses of Congress as part of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018. This law creates a grant program for public and non-profit EMS agencies and fire departments in rural areas to support the recruitment, retention, education and equipment for EMS personnel. Rural EMS agencies and fire departments often lack the resources to pay for even basic operational needs. The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, creating a crisis for EMS in many rural areas.

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 provided $5 million and $5.5 million respectively for SIREN grants; however, to seriously address existing needs, the program will require additional funds. In Fiscal Year 2020, the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) received 66 applications, but only 27 were able to be funded, ranging from $92,000 to $200,000. Twenty million would provide 100 grants nationwide or two per state.

Ask your lawmakers in the Senate and House to share their support with the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to fund the SIREN Act grants at $20 million for FY2022.

3. Secure U.S. House support for the EMS Counts Act of 2021

The EMS Counts Act of 2021 will require the Secretary of Labor to revise the Standard Occupational Classification System by dividing the general occupational category of Firefighter into four sub-categories. Specifically, the bill directs the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to revise the broad description under the occupational series ‘‘33-2011 16 Firefighters’’ of the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification…



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