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New medical director wants ‘clinician’ model for paramedics

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 by Jack Craver

Mark Escott, the recently hired medical director of Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services, told the Public Safety Commission that he wants paramedics to be viewed as “clinicians” rather than “technicians.” EMS workers, he said, practice medicine and serve as crucial “physician extenders,” similar to nurse practitioners or physician assistants. But unlike those who work in those fields, he said, paramedics often complete their training in six months and are undervalued in terms of recognition and compensation. He hopes that he will be able to gradually move the EMS system toward a model that he has seen elsewhere, including in Australia, where he once worked. Part of that effort will be introducing new training and certification opportunities for EMS employees.

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