Governor’s EMS Task Force Sounds Alarm in Final Report Immediate Action Recommended
The Governor’s Emergency Medical
Service (EMS) Readiness Task Force has concluded that
After 16 months of fact-finding, review and deliberation by the 16-member task force, the final report was submitted to Gov. Brad Henry’s Office this month calling for an estimated state investment of $5 million a year for four years.
In the last five years, 45 Oklahoma EMS agencies have closed, leaving neighboring communities with the burden of providing care with no additional revenue.
“Other factors that put the system at
risk include Medicare budget cuts, no statewide mechanism for dedicated public
Reid pointed to an Institute of Medicine report “EMS at the Crossroads” describing the national EMS systems as fragmented and noted that rural communities suffer most, as their populations age and their tax bases decrease.
Reid stated that many citizens have
confidence in the services of their local community. “Although I may currently
live in an area with good
The Governor’s EMS Readiness Task Force Report offers the following recommendations:
F Remove the constitutional cap on the taxes
communities can levy on themselves to pay for
F Establish a state fund to assist regional
· Recruitment and retention:
F Offer state tuition reimbursement for people who complete advanced Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and work a minimum number of hours in the field.
F Offer state funding to
F Offer tax breaks for EMTs.
F Offer line-of-duty death benefits for EMTs.
F Offer state funded retirement benefits for EMTs similar to those for police and fire.
F Provide medical director training and development.
F Provide for confidentiality of quality improvement activities to protect services and medical directors against lawsuits.
F Improve communications systems.
F Form public/private partnerships to secure federal preparedness funding.
F Organize state-sponsored regional response teams.
Three bills: HB 1615, SB 531 and HJR 1014, are working through the legislative process to implement the recommendations of the Governor’s EMS Readiness Task Force Report.