Thank you, ERJ, for the inspiration for another blog post. One of your commenters to your post about the fiscal consequences of “kicking the (payroll and benefits) can down the road”, and the implications of same for actually MAINTAINING a given level of government/police/fire/EMS services, presented the following:
“I suspect another reason for services eroding is lack of employees.
I know that many police departments have openings for lack of qualified candidates, as do many county agencies. Whether their qualification requirements are reasonable is another question. I know that some places intentionally understaff so that existing staff can easily justify overtime, occasionally to a ridiculous degree.”
This ties in, very neatly, to a conversation I had with The Darling Daughter the other weekend. She was talking to somebody with whom she works, this somebody being involved in some manner with providing EMS services. This Somebody (hereinafter referred to as “TS”) was sharing with her the difficulty of obtaining personnel to staff ambulances, in the numbers required to provide ambulances, 24/7/365/surge capacity in the event if BFD emergency.
The Darling Daughter (to be referenced as “TDD”) pointed out that she spent her childhood in the household of a medic, and noted to her correspondent that “You DO know, that McDonalds is paying more than you are, right?”
That elicited an observation about insurance company reimbursement for ambulance transport (TL:DR: meager), and the difficulties that provides in paying personnel more.
TDD noted that for mothers who might contemplate a career Fighting Disease, And Saving Lives, child care, and in particular child care after 5 pm, is AN ISSUE.
Her correspondent, TS, was reported to have metaphorically waved his hands, responding “I KNEW you were going to bring up child care!”
I agreed with TDD, noting that should a crew pick up a transfer to, say Ann Arbor at something like 3 pm, (the drive alone is on the order of 90 minutes, one way, from, oh, let’s pick a town at random: Eaton Rapids, and Sparrow Eaton Hospital. Not mentioned is unload time, as well as the drive back, restocking the rig, and tootling home.), then Our Heroine is looking at being, maybe, in the parking lot of University of Michigan Medical Center, heading home if she is fortunate, just about the time that her day care provider is beginning to blow up her phone with warnings of five-dollar-a-MINUTE late charges for EACH of her children, now that she is late.
At a pay that compares, sort of, with minimum wage.
So, hell YEAH, child care is an issue.
She (TDD) then noted to TS, that there does not appear to be any sort of career ladder for EMS. So far as she knew, it went something like
Basic EMT–>Paramedic–>Do Something Else.
She relates that this sort of issue might adversely affect retention. Which will, as a readily foreseeable follow on effect, “thin the herd” of individuals entering that pipeline. Leading to just this conversation.
Another Proud Poppa Moment!