Sep. 24, 2019

HARRISBURG - The House Veteran Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee today approved legislation authored by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) that would assist many rural emergency medical services (EMS) companies that are experiencing staffing difficulties for Basic Life Support Services (BLS).

“This legislation would impact every EMS company in the 68th Legislative District, as well as companies in other rural areas across the state,” said Owlett. “Volunteer membership continues to decline and rural companies in particular are having a difficult time meeting some of the state staffing requirements. Tragically, some of these requirements are preventing them from doing their jobs – saving lives.”

Specifically, Owlett’s legislation would allow EMS companies in sixth-, seventh- and eighth-class counties to apply for a waiver to staffing requirements on a BLS ambulance.

Current law requires that a BLS ambulance be staffed at a minimum with at least one individual who is certified as an emergency medical responder (EMR) or higher and one who is licensed as an emergency medical technician (EMT). In addition, House Bill 1869 would give the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services in the Department of Health the ability to review and decide on a case-by-case basis each waiver that is submitted to the bureau from an EMS agency located in one of the classes of counties listed.

“Trained people on the scene of an emergency are better than no one coming to give aid,” said Owlett. “The current law is preventing people from receiving medical assistance when they need it most.

“I am pleased my colleagues who serve on the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Services Committee support my proposal and have seen fit to send it on to the full House for a vote,” added Owlett.

Representative Clint Owlett
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman