Congressman Adam Kinzinger, joined by State Senator Sue Rezin and State Representative Pam Roth, held a press conference at the Utica Community Fire Protection District today to highlight the U.S. House's bipartisan passage of H.R. 4124, the Veterans Emergency Medic Technician Support Act of 2012.
Too often, returning veterans who train and serve as combat medics face State licensing challenges when they try to find similar work in civilian life. Many states do not recognize their military training as applicable to the licensing requirements of the civilian health care system for Emergency Medical Services such as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics.
This legislation is a commonsense way to help veterans transition back to civilian life. By supporting states to make the process more efficient -- veterans with military EMT training will more quickly become certified civilian EMTs. In doing so, returning veterans will not have to start over at square one in their training and can enter the civilian workforce much sooner.
"Last month's jobs numbers highlight the continued difficulty our returning veterans face as they attempt to re-enter the civilian workforce," stated Congressman Adam Kinzinger. "These men and women deserve all our efforts to identify and eliminate unnecessary hurdles to civilian employment, and I am proud that the House has acted on this bipartisan bill to streamline the civilian certification process for military EMTs. 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."
"We must do everything we can to ensure that our communities are properly staffed with EMS professionals," said State Senator Sue Rezin. "The grants provided by this bill can help Illinois and many other states take a fresh look at how we take into account the experience that our military-trained EMTs have. Utilizing military EMTs in our civilian work force is good for returning solders, good for the health care system and good for patients."
"The Emergency Medic Transition Act has the potential to help veterans return to work upon their completion of military duty, reduce unemployment among veterans and address the national shortage of EMTs, especially in rural areas," stated State Representative Pam Roth.
"It is our hope that states would study this issue and streamline those licensing requirements for those returning from the military that have the experience so desperately needed in this area."
It is becoming more difficult for Illinois communities, but rural ones in particular, to find citizens willing to go through the necessary certification to become an EMT. Because of their training as combat medics and experience dealing with massive trauma injuries and complex medical conditions they will be an asset to any community across Illinois in which they work, which makes streamlining the process all the more important.
H.R. 4124 will assist states who demonstrate a need for additional EMTs with federal funding so they can:
Streamline requirements and procedures in order to assist veterans who completed military emergency technician training while serving in the Armed Forces to meet the necessary requirements in their state;
Determine the extent to which the requirements for the education, training and skill level of EMT in the State are equivalent to requirements for those of military EMTs; and
Identify methods, such as waivers, for military EMTs to forego or meet any such equivalent State requirements.
The bill is also supported by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). NAEMT President Connie Meyer stated, "We believe this legislation is an excellent investment to help our military veterans, our emergency response systems and our country."
This is the second job-related and bipartisan piece of legislation passed by Congressman Kinzinger this month. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2012 overwhelmingly passed the full House on September 12, 2012. Both pieces of legislation await action by the U.S. Senate.