Date: October 16, 2023
Contact: Sean Connelly
Phone: (916) 319-2053
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Governor Newsom Signs Lifesaving Legislation to Combat Ambulance Patient Offload Delays, Providing Timely Care to All Californians
(Sacramento, CA) – Governor Newsom has officially signed Assembly Bill (AB) 40, authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D – Pomona), into law. This critical legislation requires 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.”
“Having served as a first responder for over 30 years, I can recall times when I waited more than 12 hours on the wall with a patient. These delays negatively impact our emergency medical system as first responders cannot respond to their next call while the patient currently under their care does not receive the timely care they need,” stated Assemblymember Rodriguez.
In addition to the urgent actions EMSA must take, local emergency medical services agencies (LEMSAs) must establish a standard for APOT to be no greater than 30 minutes. General acute care hospitals with emergency departments would be required to meet this standard 90% of the time.
Additionally, AB 40 requires hospitals to develop an APOT reduction protocol by September 1, 2024 and file the protocol with EMSA. The bill requires EMSA to monitor monthly APOT data to ensure the standard is being met.
According to a 2020 EMSA report, roughly 70,000 Californians wait over an hour on an ambulance gurney once they arrive at the hospital before the emergency department staff assumes their care and they are moved to an emergency bed. Meanwhile, emergency transport staff cannot respond to other emergencies, and patients suffer due to untimely access to medical care.
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. AB 40 will help Californians receive timely access to care in the event of an emergency.
“For nearly three years, I have been collaborating with the APOT Committee, EMSA, our hospitals, and other stakeholders to address this issue in a meaningful way. I am incredibly proud to see our work come to fruition with the signing of AB 40,” 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.