Special to the Times
Mayor Wu, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), and Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) announced the appropriation approval of the new collective bargaining agreement for the Boston Police Patrolman Association’s EMS Division, which represents 355 current emergency medical technicians (EMTs), Paramedics, Lieutenants and Captains of Boston EMS. The Boston City Council approved the budget appropriation for the ratified contract yesterday.
“I am so grateful to all members of Boston EMS for their service and proud that this contract was settled through our shared commitment to delivering on reforms that will enhance the care we provide our residents, particularly the most vulnerable,” said Mayor Michelle Wu.
Boston EMS hopes the new contract will help retain current members and entice state certified EMTs to come work for the department. Starting pay for new hires is now $33 per hour, with opportunities for overtime after six months, as well as annual step increases, raises, and longevity bonuses. As a critical City service facing staffing challenges, the contract also includes a 3-year temporary suspension of the residency requirement.
In addition to cost-of-living wage increases, the agreement includes a Mobile Integrated Health Care (MIH) adjustment. As a public safety and healthcare profession, EMS is an evolving field.
“The men and women of Boston EMS have adapted to new clinical standards, expectations, and innovations, over the years, through a commitment to doing what is in the best interest of our residents and our patients. MIH has been no exception,” said Chief of Department James Hooley.
MIH includes the option of 9-1-1 call transfers to behavioral health clinicians, treatment on scene, and transport to non-hospital destinations.
This contract is about change,” said Matt Anderson, president of the BPPA-EMS Division. “We are writing history, redefining what it means to provide emergency medical services in Boston.”
MIH is intended to increase access to care, decrease avoidable emergency department visits, prioritize EMS resources for patients in more critical condition, and improve patient care coordination.
“We are proud that Boston EMS was the first EMS in the Commonwealth to be approved for Mobile Integrated Health Care Emergency Department Avoidance. The department works tirelessly to serve patients across all neighborhoods, with compassion and dignity, and the best possible care,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Boston and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission.
For those not certified as EMTs, Boston EMS has secured funding through the City’s Office of Workforce Development to offer hundreds of EMT course scholarships through their City Academy program. EMTs interested in a rewarding career at Boston EMS are encouraged to go to www.boston.gov/ems to learn more and apply.