N.J.'s new EMS law allows solo medics to start treatment on scene

The change is in response to the staffing crisis due to the pandemic and will "ensure a faster response when people need help" one sponsor of the bill said


By Brent Johnson
nj.com

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey will make a series of changes revamping how it regulates emergency medical services under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday — something lawmakers say will increase response times and streamline the industry.

The bipartisan measure (A4107) is designed to improve advanced life support, an advanced level of emergency care, in the state.

State Assemblyman Gary Schaer, D- Passaic, a main sponsor, said it will bring a “state-of-the-art emergency care system” to New Jersey and represents the most extensive reform to the state’s Emergency Medical Services Act in nearly 40 years.

“Our state boasts the nation’s most advanced healthcare system, giving our residents access to pioneering medical breakthroughs administered by accomplished professionals,” Schaer said. “The 2022 ALS Modernization Act authorizes our paramedics to administer proven treatments in settings that will support effective, long-term patient recovery.”

Among the key changes, the law will allow a paramedic arriving at the scene of an emergency in New Jersey to begin treating a patient immediately, rather than waiting for a second medic.

State Sen. Robert Singer, R- Ocean, another sponsor, said this provision was a response to the ongoing staffing crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Too many paramedics find themselves in situations where people desperately need help, but their hands were tied by regulations that forced them to wait for support from another responder,” Singer said. “This critical new law will save lives and ensure a faster response when people need help.”

The law also:

  • Establishes a mobile integrated health program to give patients access to resources outside of the hospital, tailored to their health.
  • Creates a new State Emergency Medical Services Medical Director in the state Department of Health to oversee clinical issues.
  • Requires paramedics to be licensed instead of certified to align with national standards
  • Extends good-faith immunity to paid EMS agencies.

An earlier version of the measure passed the state Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly in June, but Murphy conditionally vetoed the bill in September and asked for changes.

The Senate passed the updated version 37-0 and the Assembly 70-1 earlier this month.

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©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit nj.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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