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Emergency Medical Services: REPLICA

Does your department deploy members with EMS credentials to wildland fires in other states? Do you provide EMS personnel to any of the USAR task forces?

Is your department on a state border that you cross back and forth on a daily basis in the normal scope of EMS operations? Did you know that unless your personnel are licensed to function in those other states, they are probably breaking the law?

That's where REPLICA comes in.

Merriam-Webster defines replica as "a copy exact in all details," and this definition works well for the topic of this article.

REPLICA is the short name for the Recognition EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate CompAct, a project spearheaded by the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It addresses the issue of allowing EMS personnel to work across state lines without having to be licensed in multiple states.

NASEMSO established a national advisory panel, which the IAFC participated in, to develop the requirements; the decision was made that a state-to-state compact would be the best way to solve this problem.

NASEMSO Executive Director Dia Gainor wrote, "In one of the most labor-intensive projects of national significance in its history, the National Association of State EMS Officials brought industry partners and experts in the field of interstate compacts together over the last two years to develop model legislation for states' consideration and enactment."

This compact was released to the states in September 2014.

Gainor went on to say that "EMS is at the leading edge of a growing wave of medical disciplines' national bodies of state regulatory agencies that have discovered that interstate compacts are a novel yet time-tested way to solve the pervasive dilemma of providing appropriately credentialed individuals from other states the legal ability to practice under specified conditions, introduce unprecedented accountability related to those personnel, and create means of information sharing among states that have never existed before."

What does all of this mean?

Quite simply, once a state passes legislation that is signed into law to adopt REPLICA and then becomes a member of the compact, that state's EMS personnel can then function in any other compact member state without breaking the law.

This bodes well for the western United States, where annual deployments of EMS personnel to wildland incidents have always been a challenge. Likewise, EMS personnel assigned to flight agencies would no longer be required to hold a license in every state they fly in and out of if those states become members of the compact.

Finally, EMS day-to-day operations can be made much easier for those EMS personnel who cross state lines to transport patients to a hospital.

In order for the compact to go into effect, a minimum of 10 states have to adopt it. Since states have different legislative cycles, it may be a year or two before 10 states can adopt REPLICA.

I would ask you to work now with your state EMS official as well as your legislators to push for your state to adopt REPLICA. Ideally, all 50 states will adopt the compact so that regardless of where you go, you'll be an EMS replica.

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