A bill that would allow people without EMT training to drive ambulances in rural areas wouldn’t impact Riley County if passed.
The proposal before the Kansas Legislature is intended as a way to alleviate shortages of ambulance workers to perform hospital transfers in Western Kansas counties — which often take multiple travel hours. One medically trained person would still be required to be on board during transfers, according to Riley County EMS Director David Adams.
“And they’re hoping that, through this legislation, they can reduce the number of certified staff so they can more easily facilitate these transfers,” says Adams.
Adams says the bill’s language needs multiple edits before they could consider supporting it.
“For one, it states that they could do this on stable patients for transfers,” Adams says. “But they don’t really define what a stable patient is.”
Adams along with Riley County Commissioner John Ford agree that whichever way the vote goes, the bill won’t really apply to getting more ambulance coverage in Northern Riley County.
“We would still have to have a facility, it would still have to be manned 24 hours a day, it would just be the people that were on that particular rig going out to a particular incident — it might change that a little bit,” says Ford.
Additionally, Ford raised some concerns about having an untrained driver on an ambulance — especially should an unexpected catastrophe take place.
“If something was to happen and you have somebody who is not properly trained [on board], there is a certain amount of liability in that,” Ford says.
Ford also says he doesn’t expect it will make it through the legislature this session.