The totally most awesome, coolest thing is happening where I live this week! EMS is NOT on the news! We could be, especially this week, but it’s not. You’ll understand when I tell you that I live in the Philadelphia area.

It’s a very challenging place to be. It’s hotter than you can imagine. There are 50,000 extra people here this week (our usual population is 1.5 million). In addition to the visitors, there are celebrities and politicians wandering around, along with their entourages. But thanks to local responders, the back-up and support of the surrounding counties, and the hard work of all local emergency and non-emergency providers, things are rolling along quite nicely.

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I love this city – our history, our culture, the stunning architecture, our food, our incredibly beautifully diverse population and of course, our Wawa convenience stores (if you have never experienced Wawa, you don’t know what you are missing). But we are also the city who has been on the news for ambulance fraud. We are the city where the overuse of ambulance for dialysis made headlines. We are a city under moratorium from CMS. Our eyes have been blackened; sometimes quite rightfully so. But this week, things are looking good.

As we busily focus on operations and getting paid for what we do, we sometimes overlook how difficult it can be to DO what we do. This city is currently a logistical nightmare. The suburban roads are impacted as well.  While there have been accidents and medical emergencies, they have all been handled. Even with road closures and security detours, hospital discharges and inter-facility transports are also being performed. I was at a local hospital today where patients were brought to their doctor’s appointments by ambulance in a timely manner. It’s working.

This is how it happened in Cleveland too. They rallied and powered through last week. And they did not get on the 6 o’clock news either! The amount of planning and preparation needed to pull off such a feat cannot be imagined.

Sadly, recent times have seen too much EMS on the news – the response needed in Dallas and Orlando made our hearts heavy with sympathy, support and worry. Yet for all their pain and sorrow, EMS worked their butts off and mustered through in those cities – not only the commendable response delivered during the actual tragedies, but on a day-to-day basis, for the rest of the population, for the routine and not-so-routine medical transportation needs. Training and planning came into play in those areas as well.

Yes, there are issues in the industry. The compliance drum gets relentless pounding. Ambulance providers always worry about billing and having enough money to operate. There will always be another new regulation or protocol on the horizon. Sometimes, however, we have to stop for a moment and remember how good EMS is – how important you are to the rest of us – how in the midst of the most trying circumstances – patients move, treatments get received, emergencies get quality response and EMS keeps on truckin’

EMS does proud work, especially when challenged. The nicest part of all is when, like during the week we have here in Philly, we don’t even know you’re there. Because the emergency AND non-emergency providers are quietly in the background making things work.

Sure hope they get to enjoy a tasty, cool water ice in this heat (pronounced “wooder” ice here)!


About the author:  Maggie Adams is the president of EMS Financial Services, with over 20 years’ experience in the ambulance industry as a business owner and reimbursement and compliance consultant. Known for a practical approach and winning presentation style, Maggie has worked with medical transportation providers and billing companies of all kinds to support their billing, auditing, and documentation training efforts. Check out our newest documentation training webinars and billing webinars on our website.Friend EMS Financial on Facebook, or for more info, contact Maggie directly at or visit