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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

The saga of EMS standardization continues

New Jersey EMS struggles to come into the 21st century

By Arthur Hsieh

I've been following the developments in the New Jersey EMS system for some time now. Discussions about performing background check on state EMS providers and other regulatory transitions have been ongoing for a few years.  As the state legislature continues to struggle to make changes that benefit its citizens, the theme of the opponent's arguments become increasingly protectionist. 

I understand that most EMS systems have a long and proud tradition of providing service to the community. No doubt there was much success in the early days. But times change, steadily and relentlessly. A system that doesn't adapt and evolve, is a system that is doomed to failure. Even the opponents of the proposed legislation admit that volunteerism is on the decline, and the cost of managing a modern EMS organization is challenging for a volunteer organization.

None of what is being proposed through legislation is radical, nor unexpected. In fact supporters have reinforced the idea that the changes simply reflects what happens in neighboring states and across the country - in another words, the regulations simply brings New Jersey into the 21st century. It standardizes the expectations and responsibilities of all of the state's EMS providers, and creates a safety net and a consistent set of expectations for community.


About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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