Lawmakers are currently reconsidering a bill that would overhaul New Jersey’s emergency medical services by changing the qualifications, training, and operations of paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and emergency medical responders. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee recently reported favorably on Senate Bill No. 1650.
Among other changes, the proposed legislation:
- Designates the Office of Emergency Medical Services to oversee emergency medical services delivery in New Jersey.
- Calls for the appointment of a New Jersey-licensed physician with experience in the medical oversight of emergency medical services delivery to serve as the State Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services.
- Directs the Commissioner of Health to ensure or arrange for the provision of advanced life support pre-hospital care in response to 9-1-1 calls within the State.
- Requires that paramedics who staff mobile intensive care units, EMTs who staff licensed ambulances, and emergency medical responders to 9-1-1 calls be licensed by the commissioner and undergo criminal history record background checks.
- Exempts an EMT who is a member of a volunteer first aid, ambulance, or rescue squad from having to assume any costs for licensure and similarly exempts any member of a volunteer first aid, ambulance, or rescue squad from having to assume any costs for the required criminal history record background check.
- Authorizes the commissioner, after notice and hearing, to revoke the license of a paramedic, EMT, or emergency medical responder for violation of any applicable laws and regulations.
- Authorizes a paramedic to perform advanced life support services in certain situations.
- Establishes a 16-member Emergency Medical Care Advisory Board (EMCAB) with various administrative and policy responsibilities and duties, including advising the commissioner.
Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed similar legislation earlier this year, citing the cost to the state and its municipalities, particularly those with volunteer EMTs. He advised the Legislature to study the bill’s impact.
Because the fiscal analysis of the current bill still suggests that the new standards will likely result in increased costs for the state and local governments, it is unclear whether it will be viewed more favorably.
For additional information about the proposed legislation or how it may impact your municipality, please contact a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Public Law Group.