How Boston EMS Managed Capacity During the Spring 2020 COVID Outbreak
Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provides 9-1-1 pre-hospital care and transport. Pandemics, like COVID-19, alter the types of calls served, while reducing the available number of EMS personnel, and necessitating extra safety measures that add time to each call served. This was seen in New York City and northern Italy in March. Boston EMS maintained sufficient capacity throughout the local COVID-19 April outbreak by employing time-tested capacity management policies to increase capacity available, while implementing innovative policies to shape demand and preserve resource availability. At the peak of the outbreak, Boston EMS implemented three new capacity management policies, such as having recruits sanitize ambulances between calls. Without their innovative planning efforts, Boston EMS could not have sustained the level of transports required. The work at Boston EMS is applicable to capacity planning in similar contexts, such as natural disaster recovery or recessions, that simultaneously affect the need for, and availability of, public services for a sustained period of time.
About this Lecture
Lectures of Opportunity offers U.S. Naval War College (NWC) students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to learn more about national and international socio-political subjects that may be of relevance to the NWC community.