Urge the Georgia Department of Public Health not to reduce the level of EMS care

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The Georgia Department of Public Health released this proposal on 03/09/2018:

"The Department of Public Health, through its Office of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma, proposes the attached amendment to DPH Regulations Chapter 511-9-2-.07 pursuant to its authority under O.C.G.A. Sections 31-2A-6 and 31-11-5. The purpose of the proposed rulemaking is to revise the minimum staffing requirement for ground ambulance services while transporting a patient. The current regulation requires that all emergency transports be staffed by not less than two emergency medical services personnel, only one of whom may be licensed at the EMT level; the other medic must be licensed at a higher level, e.g., EMT-Intermediate, Advanced EMT, Cardiac Technician, or Paramedic. This requirement is out of date and not consistent with industry standard. The proposed amendment revises DPH Regulation Chapter 511-9-2-.07(6)(b) to allow both medics in ground emergency transports to be licensed at the EMT level."

This change would allow ambulance services to staff an ambulance with two personnel licensed at the EMT level. The EMT level has far lower requirements in regards to education, clinical experience and scope of practice when compared to the levels of EMT-Intermediate, Advanced EMT or Paramedic. While EMTs are a vital and necessary component of EMS, it would be irresponsible to allow an ambulance to be staffed with a lower level of care. Further, this proposal does not outline any new requirements that would provide the public with access to higher levels of pre-hospital care. 

What this effectively means is that ambulance services, both municipal and privately owned, will be able to hire staff with less training and experience than the current standard for EMS in Georgia. This change benefits ambulance services and their owners while providing less care and treatment for the public. Futhermore, these changes reduce incentives for EMTs to progress in their careers by furthering their education in EMS. If Advanced EMTs and Paramedics are no longer required to staff an ambulance, it is possible that we may see a reduction in the usage of these skilled and experienced healthcare providers.

Please urge our officials in the Georgia Office of EMS and Trauma, the Georgia Department of Public Health and Governor Nathan Deal to reject this amendment and to continue giving the people of Georgia the high level of pre-hospital care they have grown to know and trust.