Are Volunteer EMS Agencies Cheaper To Operate?

Training1You often hear the about the struggles of volunteer EMS agencies and raising funds to operate and provide the highest level of care to their communities. While the labor may be cheap, the costs to run the organization is the same as any of the paid agencies out there. Sure it may vary depending on location but no matter how you look at it, it isn’t free.

Even members of the volunteer agencies pay out in time. I’m sure you have heard the “Time is money” phrase and members and officers alike put plenty of time into their volunteer organization. Just think about how much a paid EMS professional gets and how that same pay is being done for free by volunteers. 

Now I don’t want to get into the whole paid vs. volunteer debate here in a short blog post, you can join us on the podcast for that discussion. But I thought it would be a good idea to highlight one way that volunteer EMS agencies and members can cut down on time spent and equate that into savings. 

Listen, saving your members time and ensuring that you have members scheduled for training and shifts etc. makes the whole organization run smoother and I think a stronger organization as well. Check out this story below on how one EMS volunteer agency was able to save time and energy by making one aspect of the operation run smoother:

Using spreadsheets to organize, schedule and accommodate payroll for 20 paid and volunteer staff members at Roanoke Municipal Ambulance became far too time consuming for Troy Schuler, Chief of Ambulance Operations. “We needed to make a change. I spent several months trying all the free demos I could get my hands on. What I like best about EMS Manager are all the options the system has and the fact that I can customize it to fit our department’s needs.” Schuler states. “I feel EMS Manager is more of an all around management tool; it’s not just scheduling software.”

Chief Schuler states he and his staff utilize EMS Manager’s forum feature quite frequently.  He likes the way his squad can interact and discuss upcoming events, past meetings and training sessions.  He also uses the forum to allow members who could not attend a meeting to come up to speed on what they missed by reading the minutes online.  In addition, Chief Schuler indicates he uses EMS Manager to keep track of various training documents and staff certifications as well.

“The biggest difference I have seen in our department is the way people change their shift and sign up for shifts. It used to be done via email or text messages. EMS Manager has sped up the process dramatically. Now, personnel can change shifts and find coverage on their own through the system, without having to make a thousand phone calls back and forth with each other and with me,” adds Chief Schuler. “On average I save ten hours a week doing payroll and scheduling. Those 40 hours a month I save enables me to focus more on recruitment and community outreach.”

Like many SaaS (Software as a Service), or cloud based, software systems EMS Manager also provides a convenient mobile web app to subscribers.  This makes the system available from any smartphone or other web enabled device – such as an iPad or iPod.300x300-web-Jay

The majority of staff at Roanoke are volunteer, including Chief Schuler.  Since they have full-time jobs elsewhere, the ability to access and make changes to the schedule remotely is very important.  Chief Schuler states the mobility of EMS Manager allows him to manage the department much more easily and puts the schedule, employee data and staff communication at his fingertips.    

“One of the main reasons we chose EMS Manager is that it allows me to manage my team while I’m on the go. I can keep the schedule rolling smoothly from anywhere,” shares Chief Schuler. “All my staff are currently using the mobile app too.  It has made scheduling a thousand times easier and faster.”

I think that is some powerful feedback and is worth giving something like this a try. In fact EMS Manager has a full featured customized free trial of their software. So, if you think that saving time and expenses can help your agency, sign up for a free trial at EMS Manager. 

Paramedic License or EMTP Certification?

ems paramedic questionsThis content is from the Authorized Transmissions newsletter, but I thought it would be great to pull it out and highlight it all on it’s own.

When it comes to being a licensed paramedic or a certified EMTP, opinions vary and it will depend on who you talk to.

Certification: Agency or association grants recognition

Licensure: Governmental agency’s competency standards are met

Now when you think about it, for most states it is one and the same. Even states that require NREMT “certification” still mandate that you take a state exam or meet state standards to be considered competent to practice as a paramedic in that state.

From the NREMT website “…Licensure, .. is the state’s grant of legal authority, pursuant to the state’s police powers, to practice a profession within a designated scope of practice. Under the licensure system, states define, by statute, the tasks and function or scope of practice of a profession and provide that these tasks may be legally only by those who are licensed.

As such, licensure prohibits anyone from practicing the profession who is not licensed, regardless of whether or not the individual has been certified by a private organization.”

So, what’s in a name then? Especially if both descriptions are interchangeable and more importantly any state allowing you to work as a paramedic is giving “license” to do it.

Well that is just it. Some states like NY and NJ have been getting petitioned for years to change the identification from certification to license, but for some reason it just has not happened.

What’s the hold up?

Resistance due to education levels? Fears of infringing on other healthcare fields? Perhaps even those EMS insiders who like things just the way they are?

However you look at it. The bottom line in my opinion is that the paramedic profession should be licensed.

States cannot continue to dictate requirements and keep it noted as a certification in order to keep other professions happy.

Nationwide, paramedics should hold licensure and if need be, individual states can set specific requirements for that region in order for that paramedic to work and practice within a set scope or guidelines.

Government agencies need to remove all mention of certification from paramedic programs and gear all education and testing to a licensure format. If that means making exams more difficult, setting higher continuing education requirements and holding individuals to a higher standard overall, then so be it.

I think that this would be a move in the right direction for EMS as a whole and a step that is relatively easy to implement.

Listen, I don’t have the answers to this or know why with a certainty the word license is not the accepted rule.

Maybe we shouldn’t be putting too much energy into this to begin with since in the end it’s just a word.

The reality is that, no matter what the state calls it, a state issued “license” or “certificate” is functionally the same and is a “license”.

The difference to be aware of is that while the terms might be interchangeable for what a state calls it, non-government agencies like the NREMT, are certificates since licenses grant an official privilege (like the ability to drive or practice medicine) whereas a certification is simply a non-government agency saying that you have met their standards (like NREMT, AHA, PHTLS).

What do you think? Does it matter?

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EMS Employee Scheduling In Action

It’s one thing to mention how useful and financially beneficial the EMS Manager software is. It’s a whole another ballgame when you can see it working in action and actually envision how you can see yourself using this employee scheduling and management software.

The video below gives a behind the scenes look at how to sign up for open shifts in your workforce management & employee scheduling software using EMS Manager.

Click here to sign up for a free customized trial of EMS Manager.


Getting On The Live EMS Show Is Easy

AUDIO5We want you to be part of the EMS Office Hours podcast. Can’t make it live? No problem leave us message, just call this number  (518) 291-9401  from any phone.

Check out this recent submission

EMS Scheduling Doesn’t Have To Be The Terminator

!cid_1A4117EE-C2FC-40DA-8ED5-4309CD462105Whether you are a large or small EMS agency, scheduling and management of employees is a key task. Managers spend a lot of time on it and that ends up equaling money. What can end up happening is that schedules get confused, managers and employees make mistakes, resulting in ambulance down time and even managers terminating their efforts in frustration, leaving posted schedules looking like an excel file with a shot gun blast. Especially when there is so much confusion in the whole process.

One tool EMS Manager, helps to eliminate this confusion and improve costs by offering an innovative and easy to use employee scheduling and management software. One visit to their testimonial page and you can see why it is valuable to any EMS organization large or small.

On top of free training and tech support, they also have free system upgrades since the software is located in the cloud. What’s even better for those tech savvy managers is a new feature of the software THE CONFIGURATOR.

The Schedule Configurator eliminates the need for customers to call them with schedule configuration requests.  While support is of course still there if you need them, if customers are comfortable making these changes on their own they now have the flexibility to do the following directly from the Configurator:

Create and add new schedules

Add positions, change schedule names and change shift times

Archive schedules to remove them from member views

Create schedules to exist between certain dates vs. one that exists at all times

Create schedules that have a beginning but no end, or an end but no beginning

The Configurator is found within the Setup area and a training video is there to explain it (love the free training videos).  If you prefer a personal tour, you can just give them a call and one of their sales or support people will gladly walk you through these new capabilities.

I can point to many other features and more importantly benefits of this software, but to really get a feel for it ease of use and capabilities I suggest signing up for a free customized trial over at EMS Manager.  Click here to start now and your own demo system set up.

It Pays To Stay Fresh In EMS

banner3apRecently I had the pleasure of presenting an EMS webinar.

When preparing for the presentation I had to research and brush up on some topics and while I am comfortable in many areas of EMS  there is always room for improvement.

Listen, we can’t remember everything and even when we feel we have a firm grasp on a subject there’s always one or two things you may second  guess yourself on.

As you know I am big supporter of building your knowledge in EMS and feel  you never know everything and there is always room for broadening your education.

One tool I used is the Human Anatomy Course. This is a real go to resource for me  quite often for my webcasts, exam creation and blogging.

While many of us tend to focus on this during initial EMT or paramedic training. It really is a foundational topic that we should revisit once in awhile.

But who wants to keep huge textbooks lying around right?

The beauty of this resource is that it is all digital and you keep it on your computer for easy access and reference.

To find out what this is all about and how you can claim it for your EMS library, just visit the link below.

If you feel that you are ready to step up to the next level, stop trying to figure it all out on your own and make sure you don’t continnue wondering how to succeed on exams and in your EMS career without seeing some success — click here now

I might be able to help you by mentoring you & giving you a step-by-step plan and resources that I have been using for the last ELEVEN YEARS. Click here now

P.S. It is NOT right for everyone – but if you feel having me working with you almost “daily” & giving you proven steps and methods to follow that will help you get to the next level, then click here now for more details.

EMS Scheduling Looks Good On Video

This video gives some highlights of a great EMS employee scheduling and management software. But you need to go and signup for a customized free trial to really get a feel for the simplicity, power and value of this innovative software.

Click here to sign up for the free trial and tell them you saw the video on EMS Office Hours.

Be Part Of The Podcast | Become Famous

EMS1The podcast is looking to get a nice radio feel like all the other big wig shows. We want you the listeners to be a part of the show. Now we know everyone doesn’t have time to call in or comment each week, but you can still be famous.

Just call and leave us a recording and we will put you on the show. Nothing fancy, just a simple one or two line recording. You can even follow the script below.

“This is Paramedic/EMT  INSERT YOUR NAME  from INSERT CITY STATE and/or AGENCY and you are listening to EMS Office Hours.”

Any variation on the above is OK, just try and get your name and certification level included. If you have a blog or website say that instead of the City/State.

You can even leave a few versions and we will edit them to fit nicely in an upcoming show.

Just call this number  (518) 291-9401  from any phone or use the button below to leave it via your computer.


Is Your EMS Agency Up With The Times?

It sometimes is amazing that with all the web apps, social media and general interweb goings on, that so many things in EMS are still being done in such an antiquated way. I still see many EMS agencies clinging to the paper ambulance call reports and resisting the electronic PCR’s till the bitter end.

I wonder if its due to why so many other things in EMS stay the same “Because it’s always been done that way”.

The funny thing is that if you look at agencies that have moved to computer based charting, GPS in the ambulances, electronic vehicle checking and inventory tracking. You will find that most agencies will say they have better productivity, increased revenue and budget savings.

Take a program like EMS Manager from Aladtec. A key component of this software is its web based and 24/7 access by agency management and employees. This feature allows for EMS employee scheduling and management via any smart phone or any computer with internet access. Giving a consistent up to date schedule for anyone who has access to the system so they can swap, pick up or request days off at anytime.

Since EMS Manger has been sponsoring EMS Office Hours, I have looked into the software and what it does more and more. One thing I have seen beyond the internet access to the software and the ability of employees or management to make changes like I mentioned above, is the repeated cost and time savings applauded by users of the software.

Statements about saving 20 or more hours per month, whole full time employee salaries and the ease of use of the software is a persistent theme when looking at feedback from current users of the software.

I think it’s ease of use and the free training for using the software truly makes it a no brainer for any agency looking to take advantage of the current technology and go to a software based employee scheduling program.

Listen, we can all stick with the excel programs and push more unneeded paper and pencil. Sure these have served us in the past. But when the proof is there and your agency could save hours and money why not do what is better? Whether it is GPS monitoring for better dispatch, E-pcrs for improved documentation and reimbursement or a program like EMS Manager, implementing one or all can have a positive outcome for your agency and it’s employees.

I don’t know about the GPS or electronic charting but I do know you can get a free trial of the EMS Manager software and try out all the features. If your agency is thinking about embracing the available technology and perhaps saving valuable man hours and getting more out of their budgets, send them over to Aladtec EMS Manager for the customized free trial.



Finding Ways To Maximize Resources

EMS ManagerEMS like many businesses work with budgets. While we seem to be asked to always do more with less or take on more responsibilities and training, the budgets don’t change. That leaves many EMS administrators to find ways to save money and increase productivity. That productivity doesn’t always come from the individual EMT or paramedic and often can come from EMS managers and administration themselves.

Think about EMS employee scheduling for a moment and how that task is so vital to the success of an agency. Managing employee schedules and communicating with employees and other key staff members can take a lot of time and may not be as efficient as many agencies would hope, even in todays web based, social media world.

The answer many agencies look at is software to help them manage and schedule employees. The key however is finding the right software that fits the agency in price and functionality. While simple solutions like Microsoft or calendar programs may fit some needs they fall way short of todays modern EMS agency needs.

One software that is specific to EMS employee scheduling and management is Aladtecs EMS Manager. A recent article actually showed how one agency adopted this software for their needs and was pleased to discover how it was so easy to implement. The fact that a software like EMS Manager is subscription based and costs are tailored to an agency size made it cost effective with no hidden fees or additional costs to worry about.

It was estimated that using this software would save as much as a full time employee salary and allow for better utilization of staff for other tasks.

There are many ways to maximize resources and some may be in house changes you can make and others can be implementing platforms like EMS Manager to help with large tasks such as scheduling. While I am focusing on the administrative end in this blog post, it is important to note that this particular software also allows for employees to switch or pick up shifts as well. It also lets management communicate with staff via email, text or instant messaging.

There are many benefits with this software and I encourage you to visit their website and sign up for a customized free trial of this software. Trying it out for yourself will give you a real feel for it’s capabilities and how you can use it for your agency.

Click here to get the free trial mentioned above.

Read the article noted in this post here.