Mar 23, 2020
Tell Your Officials That EMS Matters!
As the COVID-19 crisis develops, legislation to mitigate the disaster is being introduced at various levels of government. In the vast majority of these bills and packages the EMS community has been left out. We have created an open form letter for both our membership and the public at large to send to their elected representatives fighting for first responders everywhere. Use the link below to find out how you can contact your local and state officials, then copy the text below to paste into your own corresponance with your own name & title at the bottom.
Let them know that EMS professionals must be protected!
Dear Elected Official,
As a representative of the people it is your duty to introduce legislation which is in their best interest and which protects their rights. Today I call upon you to do so on behalf of those whose job it is to protect our lives. Namely, first responders. This term includes Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Paramedics, Firefighters, Police Officers, Dispatchers and Pararescue crews. Even in this time of global crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, these brave and selfless individuals make acts of heroism a daily occurrence.
They cannot stay home. They cannot wait this virus out. They cannot socially distance themselves. No, these professionals must soldier on exposing themselves to a clear and present danger. They do so willingly in the hope of saving lives. They do so to feed their families.
With these facts in mind I ask you to act. Below are several points which I believe will directly benefit the aforementioned first responders in their efforts to protect our lives as well as their own.
• Ensure all EMS first responders including, governmental, nongovernmental, nonprofit, and volunteer providers and personnel are covered in applicable provisions of the package by using the definition of “emergency response providers” from the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
• Reimburse ambulance service providers and suppliers for overtime wages paid to employees and other labor and additional costs necessary to provide emergency ground ambulance services during an emergency with respect to COVID-19.
• Authorize CMS to reimburse ambulance service providers and suppliers for performing protocol-driven non-reimbursable medical services in responding to COVID-19 cases and transporting patients to facilities other than hospitals.
• Provide a payroll tax holiday for all ambulance service providers and suppliers either through the end of the pandemic or Calendar Year 2020.
• Give emergency response providers priority access along with other emergency medical professionals to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To ensure that emergency response providers are sufficiently equipped to handle the surge capacity and capability to respond to the spread of COVID-19, ambulance providers and suppliers need priority access to personal protective equipment (such as N95 masks, face shields, OSHA gowns and surgical masks).
• Establish an above-the-line tax deduction for up to $1,000 for expenses incurred by emergency response provider personnel for training and uniforms. The U.S. House of Representatives passed this provision on December 19, 2019 as part of the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act (H.R. 5377).
• Add COVID-19 as an infectious disease under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB) and extend coverage during the pandemic to paramedics and EMTs employed by a private ambulance service (pursuant to H.R. 2887) who die from COVID-19.
[Name, Title, Local]
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