EMS Compact Declared Operational for National COVID-19 Response
** ARCHIVED NEWS ARTICLE - Originally Published March 2020**
At the regular meeting of the Interstate Commission for EMS Personnel Practice (EMS Compact Commission) on Tuesday March 10, 2020, the EMS Compact Commission approved use of the EMS Compact process effective Monday March 16, 2020 in response to personnel needs associated with COVID-19. This decision enables EMS personnel licensed in Compact member states (home states) to cross state borders using a privilege to practice and work in other Compact states (remote state) without getting an EMS license in the remote state.
EMS Compact Commission Chair, Joe Schmider (Texas) said; “We already know of EMS personnel in states around the country who are in quarantine from occupational contacts with suspected ill patients. For many EMS agencies, the loss of a few key personnel for two weeks, even if they don’t become ill, can stress daily operations. The EMS Compact was built in part for this exact scenario. We want the EMS Compact to be one more tool in the toolbox that states can use in responding to this evolving public health event.”
The EMS Compact became effective in 2017 when the 10th state passed EMS Compact legislation, currently 18 states have passed legislation and two states are waiting on a Governor’s signature or other final steps in the adoption process. Since that time, the Commission has passed rules to enable Compact cross border operations. It has also been working on a coordinated data system for states to share information on the license status and any adverse actions taken on EMS personnel.
The coordinated data system is expected to become operational later this year. In the interim, the member states have agreed to exchange a simple paper form verifying the license status of personnel in their home state who may be crossing a state border to assist with staffing in a remote state. Once the full coordinated data system is operational, this information will be automated and states will be able to query the license status of personnel from any other EMS Compact member state.
Chairperson Schmider also said; “This EMS Compact has been built to both make life easier for EMS personnel and to protect the public being served. Given the uncertainties associated with the current Covid-19 outbreak, activating the EMS Compact at this time is a key element of protecting the public by making EMS personnel available when local resources are reduced.”