On January 13, the House Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee’s Subcommittee #1 voted to table HB 1472 (Fowler) by a vote of 6-4. This bill would deem emergency medical services “essential,” but it would also change existing code language that currently requires local governments to “seek to” provide emergency medical services to a mandate that they “shall” provide those services. These seemingly innocuous change in language potentially could result in local governments directly assuming liability for various medical emergencies incurred if there were ever to be a break in service either with a contract emergency medical service provider or one directly employed by the local government. As such, VACo staff voiced their concerns over the bill language.
A similar bill, SB 1246 (Obenshain), had the same the troubling language. However, the patron accepted a proposed amendment to the bill to address this concern, per VACo’s request. The Senate Local Government Committee which reported the bill on a vote of 14-0.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett