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Lifesaving Legislation to Prevent Ambulance Patient Offload Delays Passes State Legislature and is off to the Governor’s Desk

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – (Sacramento, CA) – Assembly Bill (AB) 40, authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D – Pomona), has officially cleared the State Legislature and is headed to Governor Newsom. For nearly two years, Assemblymember Rodriguez has been fighting to combat the critical issue of ambulance patient offload times (APOT). AB 40 would require the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) to take urgent actions to address the chronic issue of APOT, commonly called “wall times.”

“For decades, extended wall times have negatively impacted our EMS system. As this issue has only exacerbated over time, it is critical that we implement standards to ensure all Californians receive immediate care when faced with a life-threatening emergency,” stated Assemblymember Rodriguez.

Last year, Assemblymember Rodriguez and his 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 will be the first step in implementing long-term solutions.

Under the provisions of AB 40, 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. AB 40 would also 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.

A 2020 EMSA report found that each year, around 70,000 Californians wait more than an hour on an ambulance gurney once they arrive at the hospital before the emergency department staff assumes their care. Meanwhile, emergency transport staff are unable to respond to other emergencies.

“I am incredibly proud to see AB 40 clear the State Legislature and want to thank my colleagues in both houses for their support throughout this process. AB 40 will enable our first responders to immediately respond to emergencies, ensuring all Californians have emergency medical resources available when they need life-saving care,” 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.