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CMA opposes proposal to expand paramedic scope of practice

May 28, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Scope of Practice Advocacy Emergency Medicine 


The California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) has proposed new regulations that would allow paramedics to triage and transport patients to locations other than a general acute care hospital with an emergency department. The California Medical Association (CMA) has submitted comments raising concerns with the proposed regulations.

Patients call for emergency services with the expectation that they will be transported to a hospital and thoroughly examined and treated for their condition. CMA is concerned that the proposed regulations would rely on paramedics to evaluate and make determinations regarding the nature and acuity of a patient’s condition. Licensed physicians are the most qualified to diagnose a patient’s condition, based on their education, training and experience.

The proposed amendments expand the paramedic scope of practice and would allow them to make medical decisions beyond what is allowed under current state law. 

CMA supports improving access to care for underserved patients and the more efficient use of EMSA resources. However, we have significant concerns regarding these proposed regulations and the ability of the programs to meet these objectives while ensuring patient safety. CMA also disagrees that it is within EMSA’s current authority to establish prehospital triage protocols as proposed in these regulations. 

CMA has urged EMSA to withdraw the proposed new subsection that requires the development of prehospital triage protocols and transport to destinations other than a general acute care hospital operating an emergency department.

For more information, visit the EMSA website.

Read CMA’s comments to EMSA.

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