Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013, H.R. 235. This bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) would help states to streamline their certification requirements for those veterans with military emergency medical technician (EMT) training that are looking to continue their career as an EMT in the civilian workforce.
Unfortunately, many states currently do not recognize the training received by members of the military as applicable to the licensing requirements of the civilian health care system for EMTs or paramedics. The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act restructures the state requirements and makes the process more efficient, enabling veterans with military EMT training to become certified civilian EMTs much sooner.
"Illinois is home to about 800,000 veterans who have made major sacrifices to ensure the security of our nation," said Congressman Kinzinger. "The least we can do is work to create a more efficient workforce for our well-trained men and women in uniform as they attempt to re-enter the civilian workforce. "These veterans deserve all of our efforts to identify and eliminate unnecessary hurdles to civilian employment."
"I'm proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Capps to streamline the process for military EMTs," Kinzinger continued. "Our veterans are now looking to the Senate to take up this commonsense jobs legislation and recognize that it is an important step to quickly and effectively help our veterans as they transition from the battlefield to civilian life."
"Our military men and women receive some of the best technical training in emergency medicine -- and they prove their skills on the battlefield every day," said Congresswoman Capps. "When they return home, however, experienced military medics are often required to begin their training completely over at the most basic level to receive certification for civilian jobs. This unnecessarily keeps our veterans out of the workforce and withholds valuable medical personnel from our communities. This important issue received attention in the Presidential debates last year, with President Obama speaking about the importance of making it easier for our medics to join the civilian health care workforce. Our legislation would go a long way toward eliminating this roadblock and should be sent to President Obama for his signature this year."
It is becoming increasingly difficult for Illinois communities, particularly in rural areas, 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. 235 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). "We believe this legislation is an excellent investment to help our military veterans, our emergency response systems and our country," said NAEMT President Connie Meyer.