Three bills authored by State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, passed the State Assembly with bipartisan support Thursday.
“The State Assembly recognized career and volunteer first responders from across Wisconsin today to show our support for the important work they do every day. We also passed several bills that recognize the value of first responders and provide resources and flexibility to the communities they serve,” said Loudenbeck in a news release. “The three bills I authored will help local governments address staffing, technology, and regulatory challenges and help them provide quality lifesaving services in their communities.”
Assembly Bill 427 makes changes to current law, as requested by the Department of Health Services, so that communities in Wisconsin can apply for a new and innovative federal pilot program called ET3 which stands for Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport. ET3 is a voluntary, five-year payment model that will provide greater flexibility to ambulance care teams to address the immediate medical needs of Medicare beneficiaries following a 911 call.
“I am excited about this bill as it will allow Wisconsin communities to apply for the ET3 Pilot. If approved for the ET3 pilot, emergency responders, in consultation with a physician, may determine a patient can be best served at an urgent care or other non-acute care setting. As we know, Emergency Room visits are expensive, and may not always be the right place for someone calling 911 to receive the care they need. The pilot will provide data on patient outcomes and potential cost savings to help inform future EMS and health care related policy decisions.
Assembly Bill 471 requires the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to start the rulemaking process for a grant program for Public Safety Answering Point (PSAPs) to purchase, update, and maintain Next Generation-911 (NG-911) equipment. NG-911 is an initiative aimed at updating the 911 service infrastructure to improve public emergency communications services in a wireless mobile society. In addition to 911 voice capabilities, NG-911 intends to enable the public to transmit text, images, video, and data to a 911 center.
Assembly Bill 472 grants the same exemptions that exist currently for joint fire departments for the creation and operation of a joint emergency medical services (EMS) district. This would allow local municipalities who would like to form a joint EMS district, without forming a joint fire department. The intent of current law is to allow communities to band together, when appropriate, to potentially provide a higher level of fire protection or combined fire protection/emergency medical services at a lower cost than would be possible for them to provide on their own.
“Local communities are not only struggling to maintain adequate staff for fire and EMS services, they must also provide adequate resources for apparatus, tools, gear, training, fuel and other items needed to remain operational. In many cases cost-savings can be achieved by sharing high cost equipment and personnel among neighboring communities,” said Loudenbeck.
All three bills are available to be scheduled for hearings in the Senate.
In addition to these three bills, earlier this week, two additional authored by Loudenbeck, Assembly Bills 51 and 52 passed the State Senate. They will now head to the governor to be signed into law. For more information about these bills: http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/1007loudenbeck.pdf