** ARCHIVED NEWS ARTICLE - Originally Published October 2020**
On October 28, 2020, Governor Don Bel Edwards signed Louisiana’s legislation to join the Emergency Medical Services Compact into law. Louisiana will formally enter the Compact after the law becomes effective on July 1, 2021 and the state is formally accepted by the EMS Compact Commission.
During a special 30-day session for legislation that had been set aside during the regular session to address the demands of COVID-19, the Louisiana legislature voted unanimously to join the EMS Compact. Senator Barrow Peacock championed the EMS Compact during this abbreviated session and his leadership was instrumental to Louisiana’s success. The legislation also received strong support from Acadian Ambulance Service. The Department of Defense supported the policy of this legislation as an aide to EMS qualified military members and their spouses.
Scott Guidry, General Counsel for Acadian Ambulance Service, said; “I can't even begin to tell you the excitement over here at Acadian that Louisiana will finally become a part of the Compact. We are a multi-state operation with units in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. It’s easy to see how Louisiana was the missing piece to our puzzle.”
The EMS Compact enables licensed EMS personnel to cross state borders using a privilege to practice in other EMS Compact member states without obtaining a separate license. Other provisions of the EMS Compact legislation include a coordinated personnel licensing data system for member states to share information on their licensed personnel. The Compact also supports expedited licensing in member states for military personnel upon discharge from service and their EMS qualified spouses.
The EMS Compact became operational in 2017 when the 10th state passed legislation to join and the Interstate Commission for EMS Personnel Practice was formed. Since that time, the Commission has adopted rules for operations. In March of this year, as part of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Compact Commission activated the privilege to practice provisions using a manual system for states to exchange personnel information. Member states are now beginning to populate the coordinated personnel data system.
Compact Commission Chair, Joseph Schmider of Texas said; “I am so pleased to have our neighbors from Louisiana joining us in the EMS Compact. Since the EMS Compact activated the cross-border privilege to practice this past March, we have had hundreds of EMS personnel use those provisions to move in or out of Texas without needing to obtain a new state license. Given the movement of patients and EMS personnel between Louisiana and Texas, this will be a great thing for EMS in both of our states.”