Hawkeye Reporter

Hawkeye Reporter

Friday, April 3, 2020

Iowa legislation would address lack of EMS access in rural parts of state

Local Government

By Chris Lang | Mar 10, 2020

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Rep. Dustin Hite | Facebook

State Rep. Dustin Hite said in February that he supports changes to laws that would improve access to emergency medical services.

“A common misconception is that emergency medical services are considered an essential service under the Iowa code, they are not,” Hite told the KNIA-KRLS news outlet in a Feb. 29 story.

Hite’s support comes as the Iowa House is trying to improve EMS access, particularly in rural counties and communities.

The pending legislation would allow the county board of supervisors to declare that EMS is an essential service for an area instead of having that decision made through a public vote and a subsequent local tax.

The proposal would also establish an EMS Advisory Council to create a program structure throughout the county if the board declares it an essential service.

“EMS advocates believe that this will greatly reduce the burden and cost of declaring EMS an essential service,” Hite said. “This bill also gets rid of the five-year sunset that required the voters to re-approve emergency medical services. This gives the voters the option to end EMS as an essential service only under a reverse referendum.”

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