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I realize that just my title has already pissed off some people…my bad.  However upset you might be, the truth of the matter is that EVERY EMS organization is a business regardless of size or structure.

Municipal fire departments, hospital based services, investor owned (duh) and yes the thousands of small to mid-sized volunteer or hybrid agencies…all businesses.

Now, regardless of your personal feelings on the issue, and the concept, stick with me for a couple of minutes while we go through the 12 basics:

  1. Businesses have staff and clients/customers/patients.
  2. Businesses have to get funds for their services either through fees, subsidy or donations.
  3. Businesses have to buy supplies to operate.
  4. Businesses have to have state and /or local permits to operate.
  5. Businesses have to complete tax/accounting paperwork in the form of tax returns, municipal budgets or non-profit 990 forms.
  6. Businesses need to promote themselves to tell their clients about themselves, recruit staff or do damage control if something bad happens.
  7. Businesses have to make a profit of some kind to stay in business…yes even non-profits have to stay within budget or have enough left over to stay in operation.
  8. Businesses have to have insurance and abide by labor laws.
  9. Businesses have to pay attention to benefit and wage and hour laws.
  10. Businesses need to plan for crisis and disaster scenarios to remain operating.
  11. Businesses need strong effective leaders to attract quality people and keep them.
  12. Businesses will fail due to lack of money, lack of trained staff, poor legal issue management or simply lousy leadership.

Every single one of these 12 points apply to EVERY EMS agency just as much as they apply to the local hardware store, legal practice or auto dealer…we ARE in business.

I chose to write this article because it is becoming apparent that many EMS agencies still believe they can rest on the laurels and the communities they serve will let them slide by on some of these issues.  You can’t, they won’t and you will lose support, funding, staff and eventually your ability to operate.

Over the coming weeks I will begin dissecting several of these 12 items in greater detail.  Which of the 12 do you think are the top three most common issues…leave a comment with your best guess…the winner or winners who guess all three, in order (most common to least), will receive a gift personally from me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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