Written by Thomas Breyer, IAFF Director of Fire and EMS/GIS Operations
Legislation that could negatively affect EMS jobs and wages poses a serious threat to IAFF affiliates everywhere, compromising quality care and service to the communities they serve.
The Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate CompAct (REPLICA) has been promoted in 2015 as legislation to help states improve access to care and help agencies regulate services when responding to emergency incidents.
However, what it really does is the exact opposite. The IAFF opposes the legislation in its current form and encourages state affiliates to watch for similar bills in their state houses and to work to stop it from passing as it could open the door to a low quality of care for citizens and affect the livelihoods of EMS workers everywhere.
The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASAMSO) has submitted the legislation to state EMS officials and touting the plan in response to the federal government’s request to improve response to federal law enforcement activities and to emergency incidents, such as wildland fires. The federal government wants to ease restrictions to make it easier for EMS personnel to provide services across state lines that involve high-level security response from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement to emergencies. However, as the legislation is currently drafted could take work away from EMS personnel in their jurisdictions and inadvertently create a parity gap in wages for workers whose states enter such agreements.
A major concern is that the legislation seeks to form a commission so that all states can enter the compact as members. The commission would regulate EMS service providers crossing state boundaries and operate without oversight.
Some of the most concerning portions of the legislation to the IAFF include:
• Services would operate on a routine basis instead of a day-to-day response to emergencies
• The legislation provides no way to control quality for agencies in terms of licensure/certification
• There is no mechanism in place to receive and investigate compliance about individuals and procedures
• It creates a single government authority (or monopoly)
• The limit input at public hearings could result in a state losing control of its own public safety
Full Disclosure – the IAFF was included as a stakeholder in this process. However, the end product does not align with many of our core principles. The IAFF provided an update to affiliates on the interstate compact at its recent Health, Safety and EMS Conference and will continue to put other alerts out as necessary.