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Community EMS is officially law in Wisconsin

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:33 AM | PAAW Administrator (Administrator)

EMS Live in Wisconsin Podcast

By Joe Covelli, PAAW Executive Director

With the stroke of a pen on the morning of November 27, Governor Scott Walker officially ushered into the state the skeletal framework of Community EMS by signing Assembly Bill AB 151 (Act 66) into law.  For PAAW and other EMS stakeholders who worked collaboratively to make this reality, it was a five-year effort.

Community EMS Bill signing, November 27, State Capitol, Madison

This podcast was recorded live on Tuesday, December 12 and went 35 minutes.  Our guests included PAAW President Dana Sechler and Pete Carlson and Dr. Pete Tenghe, both with North Memorial Medical Center, Minneapolis.

We discussed the Wisconsin Community EMS law, administrative rules that need to be written by the Wisconsin EMS Section before ambulance and healthcare providers can use these programs, funding sources, staff training considerations, completing a community assessment and more.  Minnesota has been using Community Pararmedicine programs the past five years and is credited with giving Wisconsin the framework to start from.

In many ways, the emergence of Community EMS, Community Paramedicine and Mobile Integrated Healthcare is reminiscent of the early years in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s of another EMS industry changing dynamic – Paramedics.  Oh yes, there were questions asked – to include training, funding, equipment, as well as state laws to be written, barriers to overcome and some uncertainty.

In May 2010, I had the great pleasure of serving on the committee that brought together in Los Angeles for a dinner and recognition program the five doctors credited with starting the first paramedic systems in the United States in the late 1960’s.  I asked one of them, Dr. Eugene Nagel, how he knew he was at a moment in time of developing something great (i.e. a paramedic system)?  His response to me went something like this, “We were trying to do the best we could for our community, and our program at the City of Miami Fire Department developed into what we could do at the time. We didn’t know there were other programs just starting out in Los Angeles and Seattle, too.  I knew about paratroopers trained to drop in war areas to render first aid, so we called our trained fire personnel who received medical training 'Paramedics', and the name stuck”.

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