Gluesenkamp Perez, Finstad Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Tackle EMS Staffing Shortages and Streamline Veteran Hiring

Nov 15, 2023

Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Rep. Brad Finstad (MN-01) introduced the bipartisan Preserve Access to Rapid Ambulance Emergency Medical Treatment (PARA-EMT) Act. The bill would address EMS staffing shortages and make it easier for experienced veterans to transition from medics to becoming certified paramedics and EMTs.

Our nation’s emergency medical services (EMS) system is facing a critical staffing shortage that has been building for more than a decade and was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. High employee turnover has resulted in longer 911 response times and increased burnout for EMTs and paramedics, especially in rural communities.

The PARA-EMT Act includes several provisions to bolster the EMS workforce:

  • Creates an EMS preparedness and response workforce shortage pilot grant program to strengthen recruitment and retention of EMTs and paramedics.
    • Prioritizes rural communities and ensures 20 percent or more of the grants are made to rural EMS agencies.
  • Establishes a grant program for states to streamline requirements and procedures to make it easier for experienced veterans transitioning from medics to becoming certified EMTs and paramedics.
  • Directs the Secretary of Labor and HHS to conduct a study of EMS workforce conditions and report findings to Congress.

“When you dial 911 in a remote community like mine, it can take long enough to receive life-saving emergency services without the added strain of staffing shortages,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “This bipartisan bill will support the recruitment of EMS staff in rural areas and cut red tape for veterans looking to build on their service to their country by becoming a certified EMT or paramedic. I appreciate Rep. Finstad’s partnership to support rural first responders and strengthen this line of defense for our communities.”

“In many cases, qualified veterans with military medical training face complicated certification processes that make it difficult to transition to a civilian career as an EMT or paramedic,” said Rep. Finstad. “I’m proud to partner with Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez on this bipartisan legislation that will cut through the bureaucratic red tape and make it easier for veterans to use their military emergency medical technician training and serve their communities here at home.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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