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House members re-introduce bill to establish $50M a year in EMS grants

The Supporting Our First Responders Act would authorize spending on hiring, training, equipment, vehicles, facility upgrades and more


Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) re-introduced the bipartisan Supporting Our First Responders Act to help EMS agencies with issues such as hiring and retention, training reimbursements and facility upgrades.

Photo/Alex Brandon/Associated Press

By Leila Merrill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) and Rep. Mike Carey (R-Ohio), have re-introduced the bipartisan Supporting Our First Responders Act to help EMS agencies with hiring and retention, training reimbursements, facility upgrades and more.

Kim and several other lawmakers, including Carey, introduced the bill last fall.

“EMS responders are first on the scene and must be willing to risk their own well-being to put others’ needs first. Sadly too many of them do not have the equipment they need on the job to keep themselves and others safe,” Kim said in a news release this week. “In New Jersey and across the country, we have EMS workers on the front lines working without the level of support they need. That’s why I am proud to re-introduce this bipartisan legislation to strengthen our support for first responders and ensure they have the resources, staffing, training, equipment, as well as the mental healthcare support they need and deserve.”

New Jersey is one of 37 states that does not classify EMS as an essential service. That means local governments are not required to provide these services on their own. Many EMS agencies do not have wide access to federal and state funding.

The measure would authorize $50 million per year for five years to establish a grant program under the Department of Health and Human Services. The program would allow public, private, and nonprofit EMS agencies that provide medical services, along with state and local governments to apply for grants to:

  • hire, recruit, and retain trained medical personnel
  • support the well-being of EMS personnel
  • provide reimbursement for required training
  • construct and modify existing facilities
  • upgrade and purchase new equipment, medication, and vehicles
  • establish or support existing community paramedicine or mobile integrated healthcare initiatives.

The bill also would:

  • authorize $5 million in technical assistance to assist EMS agencies with navigating grant processes
  • permanently extend the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Emergency Triage, Treatment, and Travel Model
  • require three reports from the secretary of Health and Human Services.

A legislation fact sheet is here.

The Supporting Our First Responders Act has been endorsed by Bound Tree Medical, the International Association of EMS Chiefs and the National Association of Counties.

Kim is a member of the bipartisan EMS Caucus and the Fire Caucus.