EMS World

FEB 2019

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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44 FEBRUARY 2019 | EMSWORLD.com LEGISLATION & POLICY decision (Augus tus vs . ABM Securit y Ser vices) stated that private securit y guards could no longer be contac ted or reachable during their breaks—even during an emergency," he says. "Under Augustus, all communication devices must be turned off while on break. Trial law yer s and unions quickly filed suit against private ambulance companies seeking to apply the ruling to private EMTs, paramedics, and emergency life flight helicopter crews. "C alifo r nia had alread y e xe m pte d publicly employed EMTs, paramedics, firefighter s , and p olice of ficer s from the Augustus ruling and shielded their government employers from any legal liability from requiring their workforce to remain on call throughout their shift, which has been the practice for over 50 years for both public and private EMTs and para- medics, as well as all other public safety personnel. Prop 11 simply applies the same protections to private employers of 9-1-1 emergency medical crews that the state has provided public employers." AB-263 This argument doesn't fly with California Assembly member Freddie Rodriguez. He is a 29-year veteran EMT and coau- thor of AB-263, a bill entitled "Emergency Medical Ser vices Workers: Rights and Working Conditions" that has been work- ing its way through the California legis- lature. Using input from AMR and other industr y players, AB-263 would provide the kind of exemption from lawsuits the company achieved with Prop 11, but with- out retroactive protection against suits already in progress. It s tex t: An employer that provides emergency medical ser vices as part of an e m e r ge n c y m e d i cal s e r v i ces s y s- tem or plan…shall authorize and permit its employees enga ged in prehospital emergency services to take rest periods. During the authorized rest p erio d… an employer shall relieve an employee of all duties and relinquish control over how the employee spends his or her time, except that an employer may require employees to monitor pagers, radios, station alert boxes , intercoms , cellular telephones , or other communication methods during rest or recovery periods, to provide for the public health and welfare. To date AB-263 is not law in Califor- nia. Back in 2017 " the bill was moving pretty good through the process," says Rodriguez. "But once the bill got over to the Senate side, we learned about the pending lawsuit regarding the meal and rest breaks not being paid. Because of the pending litigation, I had discussions with AMR and the California Ambulance Association that we would just hold the bill—because if the bill passed and got to the governor, he would probably veto it due to the pending litigation. "We all agreed to just stand back and let this pending litigation take its course," Rodriguez adds. "But for some reason Photo: Aaron Webster Spending $30 million to save $100 million could prove to be a very good business decision indeed.

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