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Legislative Package to Combat Ambulance Delays Heads to the Senate

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – As we near the end of EMS Week 2023, Assemblymember Rodriguez has advanced his legislative package to combat wall times to the State Senate. Yesterday, AB 40 passed the Assembly Floor unanimously, and today, AB 296 passed unanimously. AB 40 would take several steps to reduce ambulance patient offload delays to ensure ambulances are available to respond to 9-1-1 calls for emergency medical services. AB 296 would establish the 9-1-1 Public Education Campaign to educate the public on when it is appropriate to call 9-1-1 for assistance.

“As a career first responder, I have seen the impact of unduly long wall times on our EMS system for decades. I am proud to see my legislative package to combat wall times advance to the Senate as we wrap up EMS Week. This is one of the most meaningful ways I can celebrate EMS Week and recognize our dedicated first responders,” stated Assemblymember Rodriguez. 

Last year, the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management held an oversight hearing on wall times. One of the recommendations from this hearing was to educate the public on when it is appropriate to call 9-1-1 for assistance, as there were many instances of the public calling 9-1-1 centers for non-urgent matters. AB 296 aims to meet this recommendation. 

In November 2021, EMSA convened a wall time task force comprised of a broad group of stakeholders, including representatives from the Department of Public Health, ambulance, firefighters, hospital, physician, and nurse groups. AB 40 would codify some of their most impactful recommendations.

AB 40 would require all LEMSAs to establish an APOT standard of no more than 30 minutes and require general acute care hospitals with emergency departments to meet that standard 90% of the time. Additionally, hospitals would be required to develop an APOT reduction protocol by June 1, 2024, file the protocol with EMSA and require EMSA to monitor monthly APOT data to ensure the standard is being met.

“Our communities expect and deserve immediate emergency transport and a hospital ready to receive them for treatment when they call 9-1-1. Unfortunately, non-urgent calls and other factors put immense pressure on our EMS system. AB 40 and AB 296 will alleviate these pressures, getting our first responders off the wall and enabling our system to run efficiently and effectively,” 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.