EMS Minimum Staffing During State of Emergency
From Ohio EMS, Robert L. Wagoner, Interim Executive Director
|EMS MINIMUM STAFFING DURING THE STATE OF EMERGENCY|
Ambulance staffing requirements are set forth in Ohio Revised Code 4765.43. This provision requires at least one EMT, advanced EMT, or paramedic to be in the ambulance when traveling to the scene of the emergency. When transporting a patient, two EMS certified personnel must be in the ambulance. If an EMS agency is unable, due to the current crisis, to maintain this staffing requirement, the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire and Transportation Services (EMFTS Board), pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 4765.48, has the authority to decide if the staffing violation merits filing a complaint against the EMS organization. Therefore, the EMFTS Board has the authority to review staffing violations, but it also has the authority to decline to file a complaint. As a result, the law affords EMS agencies, with appropriate oversight from the EMFTS Board, to take action as necessary to provide EMS services below minimum staffing levels if necessary under the circumstances.
The Department of Public Safety Division of EMS recommends that EMS agencies exhaust all efforts with current staffing, mutual aid agreements, and consultation with the local county Emergency Management Agency before falling below minimum staffing. Furthermore, at least one certified EMT, advanced EMT, or paramedic should be monitoring the patient during transport. The driver should also be a person who has completed training on the operation of an emergency vehicle. The EMS agency’s medical director should be notified immediately if standard transport staffing is violated. The Division of EMS should also be notified immediately in order to help assess the scope of any staffing shortages statewide.
The EMS professionals on the EMFTS Board are well aware of the potential strain this crises may impose on the EMS community, and will utilize appropriate discretion when reviewing any ambulance minimum staffing issues.