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Lt. Governor Simon urges governor to sign rural emergency services legislation during Rockford visit 

 
ROCKFORD – Nov. 21, 2013. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon urged Governor Pat Quinn to sign legislation aimed at enabling emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to provide more patient services during a fact-finding visit with Rockford Emergency Medical Services (EMS) on Thursday. Simon, chair of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, made the Rockford visit in honor of National Rural Health Day.

“It is essential that EMTs are able to use all of their skills and training to aid patients,” Simon said. “The governor has been a strong supporter of first responders and emergency workers, and I hope he will sign this into law soon.”

House Bill 2778 is a result of recommendations released last year by the House Emergency Medical Services Task Force. Simon testified in support of streamlining regulations for EMTs and recently hosted an EMS Summit in Springfield. Rockford EMS officials joined the providers at the summit to discuss ways to further improve EMS delivery in Illinois.

Ambulance services can be delivered at various levels, ranging from basic life support to advanced life support and specialty care transport. Currently, EMTs may provide services only at their assigned ambulance level, even though they may have individual training to provide a higher level of service. Under HB 2778, a licensed EMT may perform medical services compliant with his or her level of education or training, regardless of the level of their ambulances.

While in Rockford, Simon toured the Rockford Health System EMS building, met with the Win-Bur-Sew Fire Protection District and Rockford Fire Department and rode along with EMTs in an ambulance. She highlighted the importance of volunteer EMS workers who make a difference in rural communities.

Simon’s visit coincided with the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health’s National Rural Health Day on Nov. 21. The organization touts the day as an opportunity to honor the selfless spirit and sense of community in rural America while calling attention to the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face.

As chair of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council (GRAC), Simon is leading efforts to combat a shortage of emergency responders in many parts of the state, encourage additional EMS training, and improve various classifications and standards.