Prehosp Emerg Care. 2023 Sep 5:1-13. doi: 10.1080/10903127.2023.2256391. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Emergency medical services (EMS) clinicians demonstrate a high prevalence of chronic medical conditions that place them at risk for early mortality. Workplace health promotion programs improve health outcomes, but the availably of such programs for EMS clinicians has not been described. We investigate the availability, scope, and participation of workplace health promotion programs available to EMS clinicians in North Carolina (NC).
METHODS: We administered an electronic survey based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Worksite Health ScoreCard to key representatives of EMS agencies within NC that provide primarily transport-capable 9-1-1 response with ground ambulances. We collected information on agency size, rurality, elements of health promotion programs offered, incentives for participation, and participation rate. We calculated descriptive statistics using frequency and percentage for worksite and health promotion program characteristics. We compared the participation rate for agencies who did and did not incentivize participation using Fisher’s exact test.
RESULTS: Complete responses were received from 69 of 92 agencies (response = 75%) that collectively employ 6679 EMS clinicians [median employees per agency 71 (IQR 50-131)]. Most agencies (88.4%, 61/69) offered at least one element of a worksite health program, but only 13.0% (9/69) offered all elements of a worksite health program. In descending order, the availability of program elements were employee assistance programs (73.9%, 51/69), supportive physical and social environment (66.7%, 46/69), health education (62.3%, 43/69), health risk assessments (52.2%, 36/69), and organization culture of health promotion (20.3%, 14/69). Of agencies with programs, few (11.5%, 7/61) required participation, but most (59.0%, 36/61) offered incentives to participate. Participation rates were <25% among nearly all of the agencies that did not offer incentives, but >50% among most agencies that did offer incentives (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: While most agencies offer at least one element of a worksite health promotion program, few agencies offer all elements and participation rates are low.