EMS: People Will Come

You may remember this quote from the movie Field of Dreams, where an Iowa farmer, played by Kevin Costner, plowed under a portion of his cornfield to build a baseball diamond. As he stared at the field, wondering what he had done, his daughter stated, “People will come,” which was then followed by a lengthy affirmation by Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones, that people would indeed come to his ballfield.

On May 8, the REPLICA (Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate CompAct) team was established when Georgia became the 10th state to sign on as a participant to the Compact. Since then, Alabama has also signed on and legislation is pending in a couple of other states.

As a quick reminder, REPLICA is an interstate compact that primarily addresses the ability of EMS personnel to move back and forth across state lines on a day-to-day basis as well as during nongovernor-declared disasters, multicasualty incidents or large planned events.

It also allows, among other things, the sharing of EMS personnel licensure history between Compact member states as well as providing an expedited path for members of the military to enter the civilian EMS profession.

During this process and much like the movie, there have been many who have questioned and even challenged the REPLICA concept. Positions have been taken against REPLICA, as some see it as interference with interstate and intrastate commerce.

Others believe that the states will lose their oversight and enforcement abilities, and still others don’t believe that the single representative per state structure of the Commission is adequate.

While REPLICA advocate Sue Prentiss has worked hard to address these and many other questions and concerns, there are still people who don’t believe this Compact will work and are actively engaged to ensure REPLICA is not adopted by their states.

However, as a result of the Compact being enacted, the first meeting of the governing Commission will be held in Oklahoma City October 7–8. Doug Wolfberg, an attorney with Page, Wolfberg and Wirth, has graciously agreed to serve as the interim chair until the Commission formally elects a chair at this meeting.

At this initial REPLICA Commission meeting, interim bylaws will be adopted, roles of officers will be discussed, elections will be held and many of the necessary administrative and operational issues for the Compact will be addressed.

As this is a public hearing, comments will also be accepted from noncommissioner attendees. This is your chance not only to better understand what the Compact will do and where it’s going, but also to voice your concerns so the Commission is fully aware of the challenges they need to address.

This will be a significant moment in the history of EMS and represents one of the single, largest improvements in our system in decades. Jim Page used to say, “Decisions are made by those who show up.”

Well, the team has been established, the players will be on the field and decisions will be made that will take REPLICA and EMS to the next level. It will also serve as an opportunity to hopefully clear up some of the issues and concerns that many still have about REPLICA.

Regardless, this is your chance to see history in the making. People will come.

For more information on REPLICA, visit EMSREPLICA.org.

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