Citing the Executive Council's federal funding rejection, a member of N.H's EMS board resigned
Scott Schuler, a member of the Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Coordinating Board, resigned from their position after the Executive Council turned down $27 million in federal funding for vaccine work last week.
The Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Coordinating Board oversees the administration and planning of the state’s EMS system and advises the Commissioner of Safety. Schuler says the board worked directly with the governor's office on past emergency health initiatives, including the creation of a licensing process for law enforcement officers to carry Narcan with them.
While the work is not directly COVID-19 focused, Schuler sees the connection to their role on the board and what they consider a failure of state leadership to support the public health system in fighting the pandemic.
“If we truly are serving to advise members of the executive branch, and if they're not going to listen to the experts in one department, why would they listen to the experts in another department?”
And both “departments” hit close to home for Schuler, who is also the Seacoast COVID-19 incident commander and has coordinated dozens of vaccine clinics across the region.
It’s that daily involvement in fighting the pandemic, Schuler says, that made the rejection of the $27 million in funding so intensely personal.
Schuler says they’ve watched time and time again as state leaders have played down the severity of the pandemic and pulled back on public health efforts like contract tracing and mask requirements in schools, a decision the state has left to local school districts.
In their resignation letter, Schuler also wrote “I can no longer ignore that we serve based on the appointments of the executive branch.” Members of the board are appointed by the Governor and Executive Council, the same body that turned down the vaccine-related funding last week.
Schuler also resigned from the New Hampshire Trauma Medical Review Committee, which reviews the state’s trauma system and makes recommendations to the coordinating board.