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Tuesday, October 07, 2008


California Requires EMT Background Checks

Any emergency medical technician in the State of California will now have to undergo a background check.

At the end of September, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 2917, which will require the 70,000 EMTs in California to complete mandatory criminal background checks. In 2007 many problems were revealed with the state's licensing and certification program for EMTs, according to an article by The Mercury News.

"EMTs provide vital services that help Californians in their time of need, and because of the critical role they play, it is important that we have a universal statewide standard that will prevent those who are unqualified or have a past criminal history from becoming EMTs," Schwarzenegger said in the article.

"By signing these bills into law, we are increasing safety and accountability within the emergency medical services field and ensuring that Californians have the best EMTs available at any given moment," Schwarzenegger added.

Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill similar to Assembly Bill 2917 in 2007 after noting some loopholes would prevent authorities from learning about rescuer misconduct. The new bill also requires EMTs to be certified in the county they work in and asks for a state-run central EMT registry.

Such a registry would allow officials to track EMTs statewide and identify rescuers in areas of need after disasters. A registry also would allow for a single set of standards for certification, disciplinary orders and conditions for probation. Also, employers would be able to ensure EMTs have had a background check and whether action has been taken against their certification or license. However, EMT fees would be raised to pay for this.


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