The emergency medical service will see improved reforms and the creation of a statewide EMT registry, thanks to CPF-sponsored landmark legislation, which was signed this week by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Assembly Bill 2917 by Assemblymember Alberto Torrico (D-Newark) implements the following:
• Mandatory background checks prior to certification or re-certification: Everyone with an EMT certificate will ultimately be subject to a background check.
• A statewide central EMT and paramedic registry: Employers can check whether a prospect has had a background check, a criminal history or has had past action against their certification or license.
• EMTs will have to be certified in the county in which they work, eliminating "county hopping" by EMTs.
• Significantly broadens types of actions that could trigger de-certification, including:
- Denial of license or certification in another jurisdiction
- Making false statements or representations
- Possession or use of controlled substances
- Abuse of alcohol and any conviction involving alcohol or drug use.
- Falsifying records related to controlled substances.
• Requires that employers report all disciplinary plans to local EMS agency with specific recommendations on certification.
• Empowers state EMS to develop a single set of statewide standards for certification of EMTs, disciplinary orders and conditions of probation
AB 2917 was double joined to Senate Bill 997 so the Governor needed to sign both to insure passage of either.
SB 997 by Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) features the following:
• Defines an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician or Advance EMT as someone who has additional training in limited advanced life support.
• Adds two additional gubernatorial appointees on the EMS Commission who are selected from a list of names submitted by the California Professional Firefighters. One appointee would be employed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal FIRE) and the other would be employed by local government. As such, SB 997 provides additional, appropriate firefighter/paramedic voices on the EMS Commission - one representing state interests and one representing local interests.
"We've been working for a long time to achieve this. It's a huge victory for CPF and EMTs across the state," said CPF Secretary-Treasurer Lew Stone, who serves on the EMS Commission. "This bill will properly place disciplinary issues where they belong- between the employer, the PM/EMT, and their union representative. Double jeopardy will no longer be hanging over our members' heads."