The EMS regulations in Virginia are undergoing a major revision. The changes are necessary in order to comply with new legislation and to keep pace with the ever-changing world of EMS. Some of the changes are small, like using the word “drug” instead of “medication” and others are big, like documentation of drug administration. The Office of EMS has scheduled public hearings to give EMS providers and the public a chance to voice their opinions of the proposed revisions. Click here to view the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website for the complete list of proposed changes to the regulations.
Some of the proposed revisions include:
- Changing the definition of “advanced life support” and “medic”
- “Advanced life support” or “ALS” means the application provision of care by EMS personnel of invasive and noninvasive medical procedures or the administration of medications that is authorized by the Office of Emergency Medical Services, or both who are certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – Enhanced, Advanced EMT, EMT-Intermediate, or EMT-Paramedic or equivalent as approved by the Board of Health.
- “Medic” means an EMS provider certified at the level of EMT-Cardiac Advanced EMT, EMT-Intermediate or EMT-Paramedic.
- Changing the definition of “basic life support”
- “Basic life support” or “BLS” means the application provision of care by EMS personnel of invasive and noninvasive medical procedures or administration of medications that is authorized by the Office of EMS who are certified as First Responder, Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), or Emergency Medical Technician or equivalent as approved by the Board of Health.
- Adding definitions and regulations regarding the air medical environment
- Changing the definition of “registered nurse”
- “Registered nurse” means an individual who holds a valid, unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse in the Commonwealth a person who is licensed or holds a multistate privilege under the provisions of Chapter 30 (§ 54.1-3000 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia to practice professional nursing.
- More accurately describing response times
- “Responding interval time” means the elapsed time in minutes between the “dispatch” time and the “arrive scene” time (i.e., when the wheels of the EMS vehicle stop) time a call for emergency medical services is received by the PSAP until the appropriate emergency medical response unit arrives on the scene.
- Following specialty care triage protocols
- An EMS agency shall participate in the regional Trauma Triage Plan follow specialty care hospital triage plans for trauma, stroke, and others as recognized by OEMS established in accordance with § 32.1-111.3 of the Code of Virginia. EMS agencies’ OMD approved patient care protocols shall have a triage component consistent with Code of Virginia mandated state specialty care hospital triage plans.
- Changes to personnel record requirements
- An EMS agency shall have a record for each individual affiliated with the EMS agency documenting the results of a criminal history background check conducted through the Central Criminal Records Exchange operated by and the National Crime Information Center via the Virginia State Police, a driving record transcript from the individual’s state Department of Motor Vehicles office, and any documents required by the Code of Virginia, no more than 60 days prior to the individual’s affiliation with the EMS agency.
- Smoking Tobacco use is prohibited in an EMS transport vehicle at all times.
- Removal of the ban on firearm possession on an EMS vehicle
- Possession of a firearm, weapon, or explosive or incendiary device on any EMS vehicle is prohibited
- Changing how and what to document regarding medication administration.
- The signature of the medical practitioner who assumes responsibility for the patient shall be included on the prehospital patient care report for an incident when a medication drug is administered, or self-administration is assisted (excluding oxygen), or an invasive procedure is performed, except when standing orders from the OMD allows the administration of the drug or procedure. The medical practitioner’s signature shall document that the physician has been notified of the medications administered and procedures performed by the EMS personnel. EMS personnel shall not infer that the medical practitioner’s signature denotes approval, authorization or verification of compliance with protocol, standing orders or medical control orders. The provider shall document on the PPCR indicating that the drug given was under the OMD’s preapproved protocols for the agency. This includes instances where the patient is not transported or transported by another agency.
These are just a few of the many proposed changes. While many do not directly impact the day-to-day practice of most EMS providers, there are several that do. Everyone is encouraged to read the entire document and attend the public hearings to voice their opinions.
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