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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: November 22, 2019 04:48 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Exempting Ambulance Drivers from EMS Requirements
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to exempt individuals driving Emergency Medical Service (EMS) vehicles, such as ambulances, from the requirement to hold EMS certification.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ambulance drivers are required to hold the same certification as the trained professionals who are in the back treating patients, even though these drivers are not actually working on patients during transport. This additional requirement imposed upon the driver has proven costly for many EMS organizations across the state, both in training costs and in the human cost of pulling a trained EMT away from a patient to drive, which could cost a critically ill or injured patient his life.

One EMS company in my district is forced to cover such a large geographic footprint with so few trained first responders that the Northwestern Pennsylvania Regional EMS Council notified them that they are at risk of losing their license due to a lack of adequate staffing to cover calls.

In the midst of Pennsylvania’s recruiting and retention crisis, our EMS organizations should not be further burdened by mandates to put their EMTs through driver training, or their drivers through EMT training. Ambulance drivers and EMTs should be able to each function independently, without requiring “double-duty” skills. The current situation leaves people who have spent countless hours training to be an EMT stuck behind the wheel of an ambulance, never actually putting their medical training to use.

Like the firefighter shortage, the Commonwealth is facing a serious recruitment and retention crisis in the EMS field, and this legislation is one small but necessary step to alleviate some of their struggles.
I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Introduced as SB996