Be An Advocate

Advocating for EMS is essential to ensuring that our elected government officials and their staff understand the key issues that impact the ability of EMS services to effectively provide emergency care to their communities.

Through advocacy, we help ensure that the EMS perspective is understood and incorporated into the policies, plans and programs of our government and its agencies. We voice our concerns when actions are being considered that would have an adverse effect on EMS practitioners and their patients. And, we promote EMS professionalism and our image within the EMS and medical communities.

Of course, the one factor that determines the effectiveness of our advocacy efforts is you – the EMS professional. Successful advocacy depends on a network of committed individuals who educate themselves on the issues and contact their elected government officials. Elected officials listen to the citizens who put them in office. Here is how you can get involved and make a difference!

Congressional leaders know now more than ever that the key to getting elected and reelected is to understand how federal legislation impacts real people back home.

The 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the 100 U.S. Senators represent over 300 million Americans. As constituents, legislators are accountable to you. They need you to inform them about what issues are important in their districts. House and Senate leaders care about their state and congressional district first and foremost.

As a member of the EMS profession, you are in a unique position to share with your congressional leaders the key issues that impact your ability to provide emergency service in your state and district, and the specific challenge that you face in providing quality care on a day to day basis.

Making sure that all communities have access to high quality emergency medical services is a top priority. Most communities these days are faced with limited resources, and more people who rely on our EMS practitioners for more services due to their reduced access to health care. It is of utmost importance that our elected leaders in Congress hear from us directly about the needs of our community and understand the challenges that we face in providing emergency medical care to our patients.

Here is what you can do:

Educate your legislators about EMS and EMS practitioners.

  • Help them to understand what EMS is and what EMS practitioners do.
  • Provide specific details on issues/challenges/successes.
  • Build relationships with your congressional leaders and their staff.
  • Serve as a trusted, credible resource on EMS.

Advocate for specific legislation and regulation.

  • Conduct both proactive and reactive advocacy -- what you want them to do or not do.
  • Be direct, they expect it. Be concise.
  • Present the impact of the proposed legislation or regulation on your state and/or community - what it means to you and your patients
  • Invite your legislators to special events or to ride along on a call.

The process by which a legislative bill becomes a law has many steps. So, there are many opportunities to impact legislation before it is passed:

     1. Before the Bill’s Introduction

  • Outside organizations can create a draft bill and look for sponsorship
  • Work with legislator(s) to develop the bill

     2. After the Bill’s Introduction

  • Develop cosponsors to support
  • Develop opposition or support for alteration as appropriate

     3. During Committee Mark Up

  • Offer amendments to change underlying bill

     4. On the Chamber Floor

  • Offer amendments (easier in Senate)
  • Influence legislators to vote for or against

     5. During Conference Committee

  • Lobby conferees to combine best elements of both bills

For a complete review of how a bill becomes a law, click here. For a listing of all current federal EMS legislation, click here.