The Subcommittee on Health today examined how to ease the transition of military emergency medical technicians (EMTs) into civilian EMT jobs. The hearing focused on the Veteran Medical Technician Support Act of 2012 (H.R. 4124), authored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), which would provide demonstration grants to states to assist veterans trained as EMTs in the military transfer into similar civilian medical occupations.
Currently, many states do not recognize veterans' combat medic experience as applicable to the licensing requirements of the civilian health care system for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), such as EMTs or paramedics.
"It seems that utilizing those with combat medic experience in our EMT workforce here at home would be good for the returning soldiers, good for the healthcare system, and good for patients," stated Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA).
In addition to streamlining the licensing, this jobs bill would help those who have been on the front lines of the battlefield return home to employment on the home front.
"Unemployment rates remain stubbornly high for all Americans, but particularly too high among our men and women who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This should not be the case. Commonsense legislation like this is an important step to quickly and effectively help our veterans as they transition from the battlefield back to civilian life," stated Rep. Kinzinger.
During the hearing, Daniel Nichols, a Veteran and Senior Vice-President of Victory Media Inc., provided a first-hand account of the hurdles veterans face when they return home from serving their country. Nichols stated, "We have not returned to our homes and communities from global service to witness the fall of the American dream. For far too long we have known precisely what the challenges are in military transition, and as a nation we have been unable to adequately address the perceived gap between military training outcomes and civilian workplace skills, and that includes the healthcare sector."
Deputy Chief Ben Chlapek, representing the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), testified, "The military experience is too rich and too costly to throw away and deny in our civilian communities. Congressional assistance in streamlining the licensing process to get these experienced combat medics and corpsmen into the civilian Emergency Medical Services community will help our communities and the level of care provided to our citizens."