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Biden Presidency Offers Hope for Needed Rural EMS Assistance

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Staff Contributor

Joe Biden will become President of the United States on January 20, 2021. As the country shifts into a new political era with the Biden administration, there will be a variety of issues to consider that will affect the political environment and have an impact on future policy decisions.

While the change in administrations may be worrisome to some Americans, the Biden presidency presents an opportunity for interest groups to advocate changes in public policies. 

In recent years, emergency medical services (EMS) issues have been in the news. Rural communities, for example, cannot provide appropriate EMS or emergency management support to their constituents. Even with the many issues the new presidential administration faces battling the current coronavirus pandemic, there may be an opportunity for EMS policy changes in a real and positive way.

Rural Communities and EMS Changes

In recent years, the dearth of volunteers and personnel among rural EMS agencies has come to forefront of the political arena once again. Despite the fact that the issue is actually decades old, concern has been renewed and reported on by large news agencies.

For example, in an NBC News story, Erika Edwards explains that the volunteer EMS resources in rural communities are quite dire. Edwards notes that in many rural communities, there are not enough EMS-trained personnel to manage medical- or trauma-related emergencies. The issue is actually quite complicated, making it difficult to solve. 

Making Lawmakers Aware of Rural EMS Problems Could Bring Legislative Solutions

In 1973, social design theorists Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber labeled complicated social problems “wicked” because their complexity involves numerous pieces of a society that can create a new problem while solving another. Provided that the right circumstances exist, this dilemma can create an opportunity for a political solution.

If lawmakers are aware of these issues and potentially see a window of opportunity to create policies in support of rural EMS, there very well might be realistic legislative policy changes. Also, due to the numerous issues we have seen with appropriate healthcare and the myriad issues raised by COVID-19, there may be an opportunity to pass laws improving rural EMS resources.

The Biden Administration Has Raised Hopes for Advances in Numerous Policy Issues

So far, Biden’s choices for his Cabinet and other key posts have raised hopes for advances in numerous policy issues. As a result, we very well may see some positive changes for rural EMS facilities. The next few months will be critical for the rural EMS community and particularly important to help the Biden administration understand the dire circumstances surrounding EMS resource management in America’s rural communities.

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