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May 23, 2022

4/25/2022 8:33:00 AM
Response to Senator Marklein

Dear Editor;
Not only am I disappointed in Sen. Marklein's letter to the editor, but also alarmed at his bill which was supposed to offer a solution to the difficulty of recruiting and retaining Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs) in the rural setting.
I went on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) website to learn more as Sen. Marklein stated some EMRs in the district complained how irrelevant some test questions were, how they struggled to pass the test and it deterred people from becoming EMRs. Sen. Marklein's bill, which Gov. Evers vetoed, would have allowed the NREMT test to be optional to departments. I don't think we would want to go to a dentist who lacked full credentials, do you?
The NREMT is the nation's emergency medical services (EMS) certification organization whose mission it is to "provide a valid, uniform process to assess the knowledge and skills required for competent practice by EMS professions and to maintain a registry of certification status." Most states adopt their criteria, as Wisconsin does. Just because someone went through training doesn't mean they have acquired the skills and abilities for competency. Testing is part of the process to measure competency.
Pres. Lyndon Johnson recommended to the Committee of Highway Traffic Safety to create the NREMT in 1970. It is comprised of national experts in a variety of fields who develop and pilot test questions for entry level competency for the four levels of certification: responders, technicians, advanced technicians and paramedics. As far as relevancy, some questions might appear obscure, but only until the situation presents itself.
The educational component of the certification process consists of training in the fields of airway/respiration, trauma, medical, cardiovascular emergencies, and operations such as triage and transport. Obviously, we value the importance of emergency medical services in our communities and this needs to be reflected in how we support them. They are a group of responsible, highly dedicated individuals who make quick assessments of medical emergencies and provide immediate lifesaving care, interventions and transportation to hospitals.
No matter if we or someone we love has the need for emergency medical services, we want to be assured that the services received will be from a competent team. In order to promote this, I propose that they are provided with the support both at the local level and with the NREMT throughout their education including successful initial certification and continuing education for recertification. They also should be compensated for their time and service while out on emergencies with a monetary stipend. Sen. Marklein went on to say that Gov. Evers was listening to "big, urban, paid paramedics instead of small, rural volunteer departments." No matter where we live, we want those who provide emergency medical services to meet the standards for competency. Additionally, by providing compensation and support, potential and current emergency service providers will be more successful and therefore ease recruitment and retention problems in the long term. Let's work to attract and retain our much-needed emergency medical personnel by compensating them. There is money at the state level that could be used to assist in this, how about creating a new bill to do that?
Mary Mayo
Dodgeville, WI

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