Iowa first responders urge state senators to pass bill making EMS an essential service
The bill, which passed in the state House last month, would increase funding options for EMS
By Laura French
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa EMS providers are urging state senators to pass a bill that would increase funding options by declaring EMS an essential service.
Iowa House Bill 562 (HF562) would expand the ability of local governments to use taxes to fund emergency medical services. Fire and police services are already considered essential in Iowa, but EMS does not have the same designation, according to KCRG.
The bill passed in the state House on Feb. 27 with no votes against it, and is currently being reviewed by the Senate State Government Committee.
The Iowa EMS Association (IEMSA) has been lobbying for the bill and encouraged Iowans to reach out to their representatives and senators in support of the HF562. After the bill passed in the House, the IEMSA put out a statement thanking its supporters, asking for patience as the bill goes through the Senate process and requesting that communications with senators remain positive while supporting the bill.
Tripoli EMS Director Kip Ladage told KCRG that the bill is important to him and other local EMS providers who have been struggling with staffing shortages, insufficient reimbursement and closings of other agencies across the state, which have led to longer response times.
State Sen. Eric Giddens, who supports the HF562, said he is hopeful the bill will pass.
"It could be a matter of life and death and I think it's long overdue," Giddens told KCRG.