On Associations

As most of y’all know, I’m a native Texan.  I’m proud of being a Texan.  (Just ask me about BBQ and our better country music.) I’m equally proud of Texas EMS.  I believe that our regulatory structure and environment have created some excellent EMS systems and some of the best EMS providers in the United States.

As many of you know (or should know), we now have a new state EMS association in Texas, the Association of Texas EMS Professionals. There have been a few nattering nabobs of negativity questioning the need for a state EMS association and/or the motives of the founders.

As a member of the association, a paramedic, and an attorney, I feel a bit qualified to explain why a state EMS association is a must, as well as what it should and shouldn’t be doing.

A state association of any sort exists for one primary reason — to advocate at the state capitol for the profession.  Primarily, that means legislative advocacy as well as advocacy with the regulatory agencies.  As we know, many of the EMS rules and regulations receive little input from EMS. It is well past time that we as EMS professionals advocate for own profession and identity rather than allowing other “stakeholders” to define the world of EMS.  As most EMS laws and regulations exist at the state level, having a voice at the state capitol is critical for EMS.

Our national EMS association, the National Association of EMTs, exists especially to advocate for EMS in Washington, DC with the federal government.  My occasional gripes aside, they’ve made great strides in giving EMS a voice both on Capitol Hill and with the myriad of federal agencies who have a regulatory stake in EMS.

I’ve heard some moans and gripes from some EMS folks who want our state association to intervene in employer/employee disputes and advocate for wage increases.  Quite simply, that’s not how this works. State associations don’t exist for this reason.  Local associations and/or unions are the best place for advocacy with a specific employer.

A stool needs three legs to stand.  EMS needs those same three legs to stand — and thrive. For me, those are memberships in associations that advocate nationally, on the state level, and the local level.

It’s time for Texas EMS to take the next step.  Join me and the other Texas EMS providers who’ve invested $49 in our future by ensuring we have a voice at the Texas Capitol.


  1. Brittany crandell says:

    Thank you for your kind words. The organization came about because we saw the need for Ems legislative advocacy when SB 1899 was voted on.

  2. Very good points. What tends to happen is that some people will join and association and expect everyone else to do what’s necessary for the association to succeed.
    Those same people will complain that they are being excluded from participating.
    On the other hand, some of the people who spend a lot of time doing things won’t want outside input.
    So, you get 5% of the people who do 95% of the work, including going to meetings, writing letters, contacting politicians, and fund raising.

    Just human nature I guess.