The 2009 Legislature is now meeting, and issues that may soon be before them will impact our profession.
One of the issues, of course, is the Statewide Trauma System. This issue was heavily supported in the last session but died without passage primarily due to the lack of an acceptable funding mechanism. This session various funding mechanisms are being presented and this will probably be our best opportunity to get this critical system funded and at least started in our state. We are working closely with the Arkansas Ambulance Association to get legislation passed for the system.
The initial funding designated for EMS was reported to be $2.3 million. We have requested through the Health Department and Trauma Council that this initial allocation be increased to $10 million. These funds will be utilized for training, equipment and staffing.
Another issue that should come before the legislature will be licensure for EMTs. Since the beginning of our Emergency Medical System in Arkansas, EMTs have been certified, and a move is on in this session to bring licensure to our profession.
The issue of Medicare reimbursement for the services will once again be a very important opportunity for the legislators to consider. This issue’s resolution will make a big difference in the revenue stream for the services in our state that are in serious trouble financially and will help to ensure provision of service to the citizens.
Other issues that may affect our profession will most certainly arise during this session. I ask that all members of our Association take the time to visit with their legislators and share your thoughts with them. Your legislators want and need your input on these and other issues that affect our state’s operation.
Please also take the time to let me know how you feel about any of these issues and any others that may arise before and during the session. I can be reached at 501-776-5960 during normal work hours and at email@example.com.