Calif. bills would increase regulations on private ambulance services

The legislation package was introduced by Assemblymember and former EMT Freddie Rodriguez


By Laura French

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California lawmaker has introduced a private sector EMS protection package that includes three bills aimed at improving work conditions and increasing accountability at private ambulance services.

Assemblymember and former EMT Freddie Rodriguez said he introduced the package to counter sub-standard working conditions within the private sector EMS workforce.

California Assemblyman and former EMT Freddie Rodriguez (standing) welcomes guests to the state capitol during EMS Week in 2019. Rodriguez has introduced a legislation package aimed at increasing regulations to improve work conditions at private ambulance services. (Photo/Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez)
California Assemblyman and former EMT Freddie Rodriguez (standing) welcomes guests to the state capitol during EMS Week in 2019. Rodriguez has introduced a legislation package aimed at increasing regulations to improve work conditions at private ambulance services. (Photo/Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez)

“As a former 30+ year EMT, I have experienced firsthand the difficult working conditions and potential dangers these first responders face on a day-to-day basis,” Rodriguez said. “Right now, private sector EMTs and paramedics are working in a field with low wages, long shifts, high turnover rates, and physical assaults – all in an occupation with high rates of mortality, injury, and mental and physical trauma.”

According to Rodriguez, 80% of California’s EMS workers are employed by private companies. The first of Rodriguez’s three bills would require these companies to provide protective gear and safety equipment, including body and eye protection, to their personnel.

The second bill would require companies to include in-person professional PTSD treatment and stress management in their employee assistance programs, and the third would begin the collection of information about working conditions by the state, including wage data, shift durations, turnover rates, “posting” times and locations and workplace incidents.

“It’s time for California to pay attention to the working conditions of ambulance workers and provide basic protections,” Rodriguez said.

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