February 6, 2019
In the prior four articles, the California Paramedic Foundation introduced the need for modernization in three essential areas of paramedicine—Training, Treatment, and Transport.
Authored by a coalition of thought leaders with more than 150 years of combined experience in the field of EMS, healthcare, education, training, and program development and analysis, and with input from numerous stakeholders in prehospital care, these articles serve as the foundation for the introduction of a progressive state legislative reform agenda called the Paramedicine Modernization Act (PMA) of 2019. Within each of the “Three T’s” we have identified critical needs that provide the foundation for one or more legislative concepts.
The Paramedicine Modernization Act of 2019 will not address every fundamental change necessary for the advancement of paramedicine–however, it does represent a large step in the right direction in California, where paramedic services have fallen behind our prehospital peers in other states and nations. This is unacceptable. To that end, we offer the following legislative concepts for your consideration:
Bill 1: Elevate minimum paramedic education to the level of an associates degree by 2025; grandfather existing paramedics who are licensed and working prior to implementation.
Bill 2: Formalize Community Paramedicine pilot programs into state law; adopt current successful structure consisting of control at the Local EMS Authority level with oversight by the California EMS Authority and ultimate reporting to the EMS Commission.
Bill 3: Allow paramedics to participate in public health campaigns that vaccinate adults for seasonal and sporadic viral threats under the direction of their Local EMS Authority and Medical Director
Bill 4: Allow specially-trained paramedics to transport qualified individuals to appropriate substance abuse or mental health facilities from EMS and police incidents under the direction of their Local EMS Authority and Medical Director.
Bill 5: The First Responder Safety and Wellness Bill of Rights
1.First Responders have the right to reasonable training on workplace violence, including avoidance and de-escalation techniques.
2.First Responders have the right to reasonable protective equipment when working in regions with a history of violent crime.
3.First Responders have the right to report workplace violence without discouragement or repercussion, and for those reports to be investigated to the fullest extent of the law.
4.First Responders have the right to a timely and standardized crisis management system with an incorporated referral process for continued, long term services.
5.First Responders have the right to reasonable workers compensation for mental health issues arising from their service including its cumulative impacts that may emerge long after leaving the field.
6.First Responders have the right to seek mental health or substance abuse treatment without fear of detriment to their employment.
The Paramedicine Modernization Act of 2019
The California Paramedic Foundation is a paramedic-founded and paramedic-driven organization. The Foundation is dedicated to better initial education, better continuing education, better industry communication, better access to prevention programming, and better public health programming in the field of paramedicine. All of these things lead to better outcomes in the emergent and non-emergent care of our neighbors. We support this powerful programming with the idea that better paramedicine advances our state and the world.
We look forward to working with legislators and interested stakeholders to bring about change that modernizes paramedicine as it is integral to the health of our communities.