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Assemblymember Rodriguez Introduces Legislation to Combat Ambulance Patient Offload Delays

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D – Pomona) introduced AB 40 to address the ongoing impact of wall times (Ambulance Patient Offload Delays) on patient care throughout California. These costly and unnecessary delays existed well before the COVID-19 pandemic but have been deeply exacerbated by increased staffing demands and high hospital occupancy.

“When residents call 9-1-1 in a medical emergency, they expect immediate help and the hospital to be ready, awaiting their arrival. It is unacceptable that this may not be the reality for everyone in our state. As a career first responder, I have seen these issues first hand and am committed to working on both long and short-term solutions to alleviate the backlog,” said Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez.

The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated APOD to a point it has never reached. Not only does APOD result in untimely care for patients experiencing an emergency, but it also prevents ambulance personnel from responding to other emergencies. According to State data, each year, roughly 70,000 Californians wait over an hour on an ambulance gurney between their arrival at the hospital and when their care is assumed by emergency department staff and finally moved to a hospital bed.

In January 2021, the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management held an oversight hearing on the Impact of Ambulance Patient Offload Delays on Emergency Response. Representatives from both the state and local levels came together to discuss this critical issue and how to alleviate it. AB 40 is the first step in implementing long-term solutions.

AB 40 directs EMSA to use emergency regulations to address this chronic issue. First, the bill requires EMSA to develop a 20-minute statewide standard for Ambulance Patient Offload Times (APOT). To ensure there is accurate data regarding the APOT standard, EMSA will also be directed to implement a consistent standard for reporting ambulance arrival time at hospitals and when the transfer of care occurs.  

“The issue of extended wall times has plagued the medical field for decades. However, I do not think anyone expected the issue to grow to its current magnitude. We need to get wall times under control, and AB 40 will allow us to do so, getting patients off the wall more promptly,” added Assemblymember Rodriguez.

Assemblymember Rodriguez (Twitter) represents the 53rd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, and Upland. He is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management.