Skip to main content

Critical Legislation to Combat Unduly Long Ambulance Patient Offload Delays Clears the State Senate and Heads Back to the Assembly

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Assembly Bill (AB) 40, authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D – Pomona), passed the State Senate. This critical legislation would require the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) to take urgent actions to address the chronic issue of ambulance patient offload time (APOT), commonly referred to as “wall times.”

“As a career first responder, I can recall times when I waited more than 12 hours on the wall with a patient. These delays are detrimental to our entire EMS system as ambulances cannot respond to their next call until the patient is properly transferred to hospital staff, causing a domino effect of delays. AB 40 would ensure EMSA addresses this issue to get our first responders back in the field, helping our entire system to function more efficiently,” stated Assemblymember Rodriguez.

Among the urgent actions EMSA would be required to take, Local EMS Agencies (LEMSAs) would be required to establish a standard for APOT not to exceed 30 minutes. General acute care hospitals with emergency departments would be required to meet this standard 90% of the time.

Additionally, AB 40 would require hospitals 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.

In November 2021, the APOT Committee was established to provide advisory recommendations to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and EMSA on how best to mitigate these delays. Last June, the Committee approved a recommendation that legislation be considered to authorize a statewide standard of 20 minutes 90% of the time.

“The issue of APOT is not new but has only been exacerbated over the course of several decades. When Californians call for emergency medical services, they expect timely transport and immediate care. Unfortunately, that expectation has not been the reality for many due to these delays. AB 40 will implement a statewide standard, holding all those involved accountable, so that Californians can receive the timely care they deserve,” added Assemblymember Rodriguez.

Assemblymember Rodriguez (Linktree) 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.