Many people don’t realize one of the critical functions the Department performs is certifying Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), including Paramedics. Our Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System currently certifies hundreds of new EMT’s and Paramedics each year, helping ensure that Arizona’s Fire Departments and ambulance companies have sufficient staff that are properly trained and ready to spring into action when a crisis happens. Most people don’t think about it until they need help, but our EMS Bureau is a critical part of the public health system.
Over the last year and half, there’s been a lot of discussion about adding another Paramedic certification pathway to augment the existing method which uses the National Registry of EMT’s. Currently, the statutes related to this are vague and our Rules require that those seeking to be EMTs use the National Registry of EMT’s for their certification.
We’ve been working with stakeholders to explore the possibility of opening up this process to allow for another option for Paramedic Certification. We don’t see any reason to stay on the single track if another verifiable and validated process exists and there is no added financial burden to the Department.
It will be really important to move this issue from the drawing table to putting a plan in place in the next couple of months. Legislation has to be considered, internal procedures need to be modified as many parts of EMT training, testing and certification are changing in the next year or so. We’re working with our EMS stakeholders to help outline these changes and we look forward to achieving some needed updates during the next Legislative session.