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Mich. bill aims to lower state EMT certification age to 17

Legislation that can increase the number of EMTs in the field faces scrutiny about the impact of traumatic calls on young people

By Bill Carey

LANSING, Mich. — Individuals pursuing EMT certification in Michigan might have the opportunity to be certified by the state at an earlier age.

A recently introduced bill in the House proposes granting 17-year-olds the ability to attain a medical first responder or emergency medical technician license, WLUC reported.

Representative Dave Prestin is the bill’s leading sponsor.

“Young seniors, who graduate high school at 17 years old, are finishing the entire program, they are accredited by the National Registry and they can be licensed,” Prestin said. “But, due to Michigan law, they are not able to obtain a license from the State of Michigan.”

Prestin said that this legislation would enable recent graduates to promptly join the workforce, adding more EMTs to the profession.

Mercy EMS CEO Patrick Boberg said the bill has advantages and disadvantages. He raised concerns about whether a 17-year-old would be equipped to manage the stress associated with the job.

“I think it is great that they’re getting the EMS field out there into the young people,” Boberg said. “The one thing I am concerned about is the mental health of a 17-year-old. Seeing, say, a self-inflicted gunshot wound, what is that going to do to the maturity level of that individual?”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health Policy in the House.