Bizzarro introduces ‘community paramedicine’ bill

Would relieve overcrowded emergency rooms, improve access to health care

HARRISBURG, April 10 – Paramedics and emergency medical technicians would be able to deliver medical care to patients in their own homes or community settings under a bill recently reintroduced by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie.

Bizzarro’s H.B. 1113 would expand the practice of “community paramedicine” by emergency medical service providers, freeing up overburdened emergency rooms for true emergency cases while improving access for rural populations and reducing health care costs.

“The best part about extending community paramedicine is that it taps into an existing resource – the trusted professionals who already work on the front line saving lives,” Bizzarro said. “Expanding the role of EMTs and paramedics to function outside their traditional emergency response and transport duties offers an excellent alternative to traditional primary care and emergency services. At a time when Pennsylvania’s senior population is surging, we need effective solutions that can meet the growing demand for services now, and community medicine fits the bill.”

Bizzarro added that community paramedicine programs already exist in Erie, Pittsburgh, Altoona, Lancaster and Harrisburg.

“From what we’ve seen, these programs work,” he said. “And they’re especially useful in rural areas, where hospitals are few and far between.”

House Bill 1113 would allow the state Health Department to establish regulations to certify community paramedicine providers so they could practice and treat patients statewide. The bill would also require insurance coverage and medical reimbursement for these services. In addition to delivering care to patients in their homes or community settings, EMTs and paramedics would be authorized to administer health assessments, disease monitoring and hospital follow-up care in consultation with patients’ health care practitioners.

“For patients needing routine care for injuries and ailments that are not life-threatening, community paramedicine provides a workable alternative to the ER – and a solution we desperately need,” Bizzarro said.

The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee. Bizzarro introduced previous versions of the bill in 2015 and 2017.