There are many needs for paramedical services outside of emergency medicine. For example, there are a large number of requests for nonemergency transportation of elderly and hospital patients. Figuring out the medical, transport and staffing needs for the community will require careful investigation. City or county paramedical services may pose political issues, since starting a service can be viewed as competition. Going outside of one's county for consultation on how to approach starting such a business is one alternative. Sit down with trusted authority figures who have nothing to gain or lose by offering sound advice.
Meet with consultants in counties adjacent or distant from where the business will operate. Ask for advice about how to obtain statistics on services needed. Also ask for input and advice on how to manage problems effectively. Keep in mind that sensitive issues can arise concerning business turf in the world of paramedicine. Focus on filling a need that will assist other paramedical units in a given locale, but realize that competition for business will always be an issue.
Obtain a business license to offer medical transport or other services. Hire a medical doctor to oversee certain aspects of the business as required by law. Acquire space to operate and have employees on duty. Install desks and telephones, plus computers. Purchase software to track incoming calls and medical services provided for patients.
Purchase or lease ambulances, first responder vehicles and medical equipment. Acquire appropriate supplies, including blankets and linen for patient transport. Hire employees who are certified in various aspects of dispatching, managing direct patient care and medical transport. Talk with area Emergency Medical Technicians, or EMTs, and paramedics about working part-time for the business when not on call for other employers.
Print brochures and business cards for local nursing homes, emergency care facilities not associated directly with hospitals and doctors offices. Give the information about the business to social workers as well. Sit down with hospital executives to discuss if a given hospital might retain services in certain instances, such as transporting patients to another facility or to a residence.
Keep all licenses for the business and certification for services up-to-date. Track employees' certifications and licensure individually. Consider that insurance needs will require all paperwork to be in order in case of any liability issues. Appoint one or two office workers to keep track of these issues and remind personnel of any continuing education or re-certification needs that arise.
Never open this type of business without discussing funding needs with experts, since one large expenditure could affect the budget significantly. Talk with insurance specialists about how billing may be done. Insurance companies should become a major source of income, so make sure all issues for invoicing properly have been worked out.
Do careful background checks on all employees hired for the business. While most EMTs and paramedics are professionals of high integrity, the business is just like any other in terms of undesirable individuals entering this type of work. One problematic worker could ruin the company reputation fairly quickly.
- Ambulance image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com