Bill to Overhaul N.J. EMS System Vetoed - Administration and Leadership - @

Bill to Overhaul N.J. EMS System Vetoed

The bill might be dead, but the issues aren’t



| Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill that would have overhauled the New Jersey EMS system. In the process, however, he’s asked the commissioner of Health and Senior Services to review the state’s EMS operations.

The hotly debated legislation, first introduced in February 2010, was the result of a report that labeled the state’s EMS system as broken. Heading into the holidays, the state’s Senate passed bill A2095, which, if approved by Christie, would set new standards on ambulance staffing, training and overall operational oversight throughout the state.

In releasing the veto, Christie says that while the bill was “well-intentioned,” but he had been advised it would cost the state and municipalities “millions of dollars.”

The legislation sharply divided EMS providers in the state.

Critics of the bill, led by the New Jersey State First Aid Council (NJSFAC), an organization representing 325 volunteer squads in the state, maintain it will cost tens of millions to implement the changes, add red tape and put volunteers out of business.

In a letter sent to newspapers, NJSFAC President Barbara Aras maintained that passing the bill would “spell disaster for the state’s EMS system.” She noted residents would end up paying for services they now get for free through volunteer squads.

Proponents, however, argued the legislation would bring much-needed change to the way EMS operates in New Jersey and ultimately help patients by implementing performance standards and requiring a minimum of one EMT on each ambulance.

“By issuing a conditional veto, I believe that he is acknowledging that there are indeed problems with the current delivery model of EMS in New Jersey,” says Michael Bascom, the emergency management coordinator for Neptune, NJ and Monmouth County. “The legislation passed both houses of the legislature and has made it into the press. Both the governor and commissioner have had this placed front and center on their respective desks. The need for a single standard of care is not going to diminish. The ever expanding EMS Scope of Practice for providers of all levels requires medical oversight and accountability to our patients.”
Bascom says the legislation will ultimately pass because it’s the right things for patients.

Christie asked the commissioner to “develop findings and recommendations” on how New Jersey can “effectively upgrade our EMS delivery system” and to report back within six months.

“Any changes to our emergency medical services system raise important issues that should be responsibly and carefully considered,” Christie said.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Administration and Leadership, Operations and Protcols

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Press Conference, East Village Explosion and Collapse

Fire is contained to four buildings; 12 people have been injured.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Mayor Adds Ambulances to Peak Demand Period

10 additional ambulances will be on the streets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Utah Commission Privatizes Ambulance Service

Mayors in Iron County loose management fight.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Ambulance Delay Raises Concerns over Response Times

Officers give up after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Patient Carry during Snowstorm

Firefighters, medics and officers lend a hand in Halifax.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Terror Attack in Tunisia

19 people killed outside of a museum.
More >