California Legislature Aims To Centralize Oversight of EMTs
The Assembly on Wednesday approved a bill (AB 941) to create a statewide registry for emergency medical technicians in California and institute mandatory background checks, the Sacramento Bee reports (McIntosh, Sacramento Bee, 9/13).
The measure, by Assembly member Alberto Torrico (D-Fremont), would require all prospective rescuers to undergo FBI and California law enforcement background checks before being hired by a fire department or private ambulance company.
California is the only state without a uniform registry for EMTs or statewide requirements for criminal background checks. The loophole has made it possible for EMTs disciplined or fired in one jurisdiction to obtain a job in another region without disclosing past incidents.
Current law allows EMTs in California to be certified by a local or regional agency. By contrast, paramedics are certified by and ultimately accountable to the state Emergency Medical Service Authority (Connell/Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 9/13).
The California Newspaper Publishers Association opposes provisions of the legislation that would limit release of information and documents that employers give to county agencies as part of EMT investigations (Sacramento Bee, 9/13).
The bill has been sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for consideration. On Wednesday, the governor's press office said he has not taken a position on the measure (Los Angeles Times, 9/13).