I am very concerned about the post by Mrs. Wallace. Yes, A BLS only agency can provide many services to help a patient depending on the patients condition. However, at absolutely no time will an IV be started on a patient unless the patients condition warrants it. To outright accuse an ALS Tek of starting an IV so that they can, as Mrs. Wallace states, BOOST the charges, is irresponsible and slanderous and she should consider the possible legal ramifications of an accusation such as this. I am appalled that anyone would even think that this is true let alone, put it in writing for the world to see.
There are many things that a BLS provider (EMT) can do for a patient but there are also many things that they cannot do. As was written in a post on this blog by Kathytemp on October 19,2013, an ALS equipped ambulance with an ALS provider (Critical Care Tek or Paramedic) on board, can essentially provide the same treatment to a patient that they will receive in the Emergency Room. The biggest difference between ALS and BLS is the training that the provider receives. An EMT receives approximately 190 hours of classroom time. A critical Care Technician receives approximately 400 - 500 hours of classroom training and a Paramedic receives a minimum of 1100 classroom hours. These hours do not include the numerous hours that the CCT and Paramedic have to do to get on-line status. The Paramedic program is, in many areas of New York, a 2 year degree program. The CCT and Paramedics also have to attend a minimum of at least 12 hours of continuing education each year just to remain on-line in this region. EMT's do not have the same requirements. Thurman EMS has minimum "patient contact time". When an agency, ALS or BLS only handles 80 to 100 calls a year, there is no way that a provider can remain proficient at their skills or with their ability to appropriately assess a patient. Easy calls are far and few between and if the EMT or ALS Tek that has little hands on patient time gets a really "difficult" call, the ability of that provider to provide optimal care to the patient is drastically reduced.
Again, well trained and proficient providers are essential to quality patient care. EMT's can provide many services to a patient but they are limited, both in their scope of practice and their training. When an ALS Tek decides to place an IV in a patient, they are doing this for a very good reason. All patients are treated according to their condition and an IV is not started if the patient does not need it. All ALS calls are reviewed and any concerns that are found are addressed immediately.
As a fellow Health Care Professional, I sincerely resent the accusations made by Mrs. Wallace. I would sincerely think an apology would be in order to all of the Health Care Professionals that are deeply offended by her remarks and accusations. At the same time I am sorry for Mrs. Wallace because if she actually feels that what she wrote was true, she has missed the point in why we do what we do, always provide optimal patient care for the people that call for us in their time of need. What we do, providing pre-hospital medical care is a profession, and should be provided by true professionals.
Thank you for your time,