Pa. bill helping veterans become EMTs, paramedics heads to governor
House Bill 404 ensures the the Department of Health considers a veteran’s training related to emergency medical services
By Bill O Boyle
The Times Leader
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Rep. Dane Watro on Wednesday said veterans with medical backgrounds from their military service can be critical to assisting Pennsylvania’s EMS system with its workforce challenges.
“In addition, we should be doing all that we can to make the transition from military life to civilian life as seamless as possible for our men and women who serve their country and Commonwealth with dedication and honor,” said Watro, R-Kline Township.
Legislation sponsored by Watro to streamline the professional licensing process for veterans seeking a civilian emergency medical services career in Pennsylvania passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday.
House Bill 404 now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Watro’s proposal would ensure that a service member’s military education and training are taken into consideration for the purpose of fulfilling requirements for professional credentials related to emergency medical services providers, including emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics.
Watro said current state law requires certain Commonwealth agencies to strongly consider a veteran’s military education, training and experience for the purpose of fulfilling requirements for professional credentials.
Under Watro’s bill, the Department of Health, which certifies EMTs and paramedics throughout the Commonwealth, would be added to the list.
The bill would also add the Department of Agriculture, which has licensure requirements for such professions as food handlers or inspectors.
“As a freshman lawmaker and U.S. Army veteran, I am thrilled and proud that my first bill to make it to the governor is going to help my fellow veterans pursue their dream of serving our communities as medical first responders,” added Watro.
If enacted, the legislation would take effect in 60 days.