Ky. EMS providers speak out against bill that would require 1-hour response to hospital transfers

House Bill 296 also calls for a change in regulatory authority but offers no help with staffing or ambulances


By Leila Merrill

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. — Kentucky EMS providers are speaking out against House Bill 296, LEX 18 reported.

The bill calls for changes including a 60-minute maximum response time for hospital patient transfers and a transfer of regulatory authority.

The regulatory power would go from the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services to the office of the Inspector General. The measure would also create an advisory committee to study response times.

The EMS community is outraged, said Dr. Walt Lubbers, EMS provider and state medical advisor.

"It's gonna make things worse. It's going to move medical direction from physicians and put it in the hands of a government bureaucrat. It's gonna put a lot of impositions on the EMS worker who's already got a pretty tough job to start off with," said Lubbers.

Lubbers wants to know how many EMS professionals would be on the committee.

Kentucky Hospital Association President Nancy Galvagni said the changes could be good. She said that the average wait time for a patient transport is 7-8 hours.

“Under the current structure, a hospital is not allowed to call another ambulance provider unless the local ambulance provider gives them the permission," said Galvangi.

Lubbers said that bill could actually increase wait times for people outside of hospitals and that the bill does not offer any ways to add staff or ambulances.

A statement from Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services Executive Director Michael Poynter reads:

“The Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services has concerns that a passage of House Bill 296 as it is will set Kentucky EMS back decades. We have made, and continue to make, huge improvements to EMS. We realize there’s still progress to be made, but for us to keep moving forward we must all be willing to work together. We want and are ready to do just that. It’s important to collaborate and make sure a variety of EMS experts and stakeholder voices are heard so we can continue to figure out EMS solutions together, not create more challenges”

“We, like everyone else, are having staffing issues,” he said, WTVQ reported.

Republican Rep. Ken Fleming of Louisville introduced the bill.

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