PBS Newshour: EMS Deserts in the USA Featuring Nick Nudell 

By Robbie MacCue

July 15, 2023 - PBS Newshour's reporter, Ali Rogin, featured an interview with Nick Nudell, American Paramedic Association, discusses the challenges facing rural America in access to ambulance services. 

With only a few states in the US recognizing EMS as an essential service, coupled with low pay, Nudell answers the question what other factors are at play causing a workforce shortage.

"With elected officials really just kicking the can down the road and not owning the problem of funding." Nudell continues, "That leaves the service provision to the volunteers and other community members who often have bake sales, spaghetti sales, or other local fundraising efforts to pay for the fuel or to buy ambulances if EMS was declared as an essential service."

"Finding funding mechanisms that would be sustainable for providing the service that would go a long ways towards being able to support the rural ambulance services especially and could address the ambulance desert issue."

We know that a state recognizing EMS as 'essential' does not mean it will have a sustainable mechanism for funding, pay equity or retirement parity with police and fire services. Often these bills prevent EMS services from strike or allows for binding arbitration.

The State of Maine has published a September 2022 document detailing what states recognize EMS as essential, what the designation means, the structure of EMS in the state, and funding.

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Robbie MacCue

Robbie is the cofounder of the EMS Leadership Academy, host of the EMS Leadership Summit, and paramedic captain in Albany, NY where he serves in the Special Operations Division for ground rescue, flight, & tactical medicine. He performs international medical flights with North America's largest fixed wing Air Ambulance service. For more than 14 years, Robbie served as President of a non-profit EMS organization advocating for increased funding and raising the bar of excellence. In addition, Robbie is an American Heart Association advocate who is passionate about empowering others to save more lives. He has taught physicians, nurses, and other medical providers Advanced Cardiac Life Support at medical schools and hospitals throughout Manhattan. Robbie has undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University and provides business consulting that combines his love of technology with healthcare.

Robbie MacCue

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