Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0872
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Full Text of HR0872  97th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The Illinois Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
3System, comprised of dozens of individual EMS systems operating
4throughout the State, has since the early 1970s represented
5one-third of our crucial 911 emergency response
6infrastructure; and
7    WHEREAS, Illinois' EMS system and the thousands of people
8it employs continue to play a vital and life-saving role for
9the people of Illinois; and
10    WHEREAS, Approximately two-thirds of non-police 911 calls
11are calls requesting an ambulance; and
12    WHEREAS, In addition to responding to 911 calls placed from
13homes and businesses, Illinois' EMS system covers all 16,000
14miles of Illinois' roads; and
15    WHEREAS, EMS ambulances annually respond to tens of
16thousands of motor vehicle crashes, treating 88,937 injured
17motorists in 2010, the latest year of available data; and
18    WHEREAS, Timely, efficient, and appropriate emergency
19medical care is one of the most significant factors in
20determining a patients outcome for a great many medical issues



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1in addition to trauma, notably including acute cardiovascular
2disease, the nation's number one killer of adults; and
3    WHEREAS, Properly maintained ambulances outfitted with
4advanced medical equipment are necessary to provide optimal
5emergency medical care on scene and enroute to the hospital;
7    WHEREAS, Advanced levels of training are necessary for all
8practitioners of emergency medicine, with higher licensure
9levels representing greater lengths of training and a greater
10range of advanced medical procedures; and
11    WHEREAS, Despite longer average drive times from the scene
12of a medical emergency to a hospital, and thus longer periods
13of time in which patients are in the sole care of emergency
14medical practitioners, many rural EMS systems are staffed
15primarily by volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians often
16with comparably lower levels of training and less available
17medical equipment than is found in most urban EMS systems; and
18    WHEREAS, While many well-funded federal grants were
19deservedly made available to police and fire services over the
20last 11 years, the same cannot be said of federal funds
21available to EMS services, forcing many joint fire/EMS
22departments and stand-alone EMS departments to rely on ad-hoc



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1local fundraising efforts to keep up aging ambulances and basic
2equipment; and
3    WHEREAS, The State has often found it necessary to sweep
4expected EMS funds due to ongoing budget challenges, resulting
5in the fact that actual EMS funding has largely remained flat
6or declined over the last 10 years; and
7    WHEREAS, Attrition of more highly-trained EMTs, especially
8within volunteer EMS departments, has led to a situation in
9which recruitment, up-training, and retention of qualified
10EMTs has become incredibly challenging for many EMS
11departments; and
12    WHEREAS, These various challenges are indicative of the
13fact that despite over 40 years of crucial service, and in
14contrast to the equally worthy Police and Fire Services,
15Emergency Medical Service has never been declared an essential
16service by the State of Illinois; and
17    WHEREAS, Despite these many challenges they face as an
18equal third of the State's emergency response infrastructure,
19the brave and talented men and women of Illinois' EMS system
20continue to save lives and improve medical outcomes for
21patients across the State on a daily basis; therefore, be it



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3Emergency Medical Service should be prioritized in line with
4its value to the people of Illinois and should formally be
5declared an Essential Service.