Gluesenkamp Perez introduces legislation to address nationwide shortage of EMS workers


U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, hopes to address the emergency medical services (EMS) staffing shortage and ease the process to become an emergency medical treatment (EMT) worker.

On Wednesday, Gluesenkamp Perez and Rep. Brad Finstad, R-Minnesota, introduced the bipartisan Preserve Access to Rapid Ambulance Emergency Medical Treatment Act. According to Gluesenkamp Perez, the bill would address the shortage of emergency workers, particularly in rural areas.

“When you dial 911 in a remote community like mine, it can take long enough to receive life-saving emergency services without the added strain of staffing shortages,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill will support the recruitment of EMS staff in rural areas and cut red tape for veterans looking to build on their service to their country by becoming a certified EMT or paramedic. I appreciate Rep. Finstad’s partnership to support rural first responders and strengthen this line of defense for our communities.”

If passed, the bill would:

• Direct the secretary of labor to study EMS workforce conditions

• Create and fund grants for states to streamline the process of becoming a certified EMT and paramedics

• Develop an EMS preparedness and response workforce pilot grant program that promotes recruitment and retention efforts, with 20% of the grants to rural EMS agencies

“In many cases, qualified veterans with military medical training face complicated certification processes that make it difficult to transition to a civilian career as an EMT or paramedic,” Finstad said. “I’m proud to partner with Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez on this bipartisan legislation that will cut through the bureaucratic red tape and make it easier for veterans to use their military emergency medical technician training and serve their communities here at home.”