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Reps. Kinzinger and Capps Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Military Medics Transition To Civilian EMS

Apr 16, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Kinzinger: Catherine Gatewood, 202.631.6754
Capps: Chris Meagher, 202.225.3601

Kinzinger, Capps Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Veterans Find Jobs

Washington – Today, Representatives Adam Kinzinger (IL-19) and Lois Capps (CA-24) reintroduced a bipartisan bill which would make it easier for veterans with military medical training to continue their career as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) in the civilian workforce.

H.R. 1818, the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act, would assist states in streamlining their certification requirements for veterans with military medical training. The original bill was passed with bipartisan support by the House in the 112th and 113th Congress, but did not receive consideration in the Senate. Senator Bill Cassidy (LA) has introduced companion legislation for Senate consideration in the 114th Congress.

“One thing I consistently hear from local ambulance companies who provide emergency and non-emergency ambulance service to the citizens of the Sixteenth District is that they have difficulty filling medical technician positions,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “Our brave men and women in uniform who have served as military EMTs are well qualified for these civilian jobs but need government to work for them in meeting the civilian requirements. I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation that has passed the House during the previous two Congresses with Congresswoman Capps, and I’m pleased to have Senator Cassidy take up a companion bill in the Senate. I look forward to working together to enact this commonsense legislation that will help veterans transition from the battlefield to civilian life.”

“This legislation would go a long way toward making the pathway to a job a little smoother for veterans,” said Congresswoman Capps. “Instead of starting their training over at the most basic level to receive certification for civilian jobs, experienced military medics should be able to more easily use the skills they already own. It would be a benefit to both our veterans and to the safety of our communities. I am hopeful that this 114th Congress is the one that will push this bill over the finish line.”

“It doesn’t make sense that combat medics can treat our troops, but they can’t treat civilians as EMTs when they leave the military,” said Senator Cassidy. “Streamlining the requirements to help veterans with medical training become EMTs benefits our veterans and our communities. I thank Reps. Kinzinger and Capps for working with me to help increase jobs for our veterans.”

"This important legislation will not only assist military medics with continuing their medical careers, it also addresses the EMT/Paramedic shortage that the EMS Industry is currently facing by easing the transition of qualified, skilled military medics into civilian EMT and Paramedic positions,” said David B. Hill, III, President of Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service in Illinois with operations in Loves Park, IL.

Ben Chlapek, the LTC (Ret.), US Army and Chair of National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Military Relations Committee applauded the reintroduction of H.R. 1818, saying “NAEMT veterans are extremely grateful that Representatives Kinzinger and Capps, and Senator Cassidy, have reintroduced this legislation to help veterans streamline the licensing process in becoming civilian paramedics. Passage of these companion bills would be a giant step in recognizing the incredible training that our service members have obtained during these last two wars and would allow them to continue applying those skills to serve their communities. We are extremely grateful for the support of this bipartisan bill and on behalf of multiple military and civilian EMS organizations, we thank these Members of Congress for taking the lead on such an important issue.”

Currently, many veteran military medics are required to take classes they have already completed in the military to satisfy the civilian licensure system, needlessly delaying their entry into the civilian workforce and driving up educational costs. This bipartisan legislation would make the process more efficient by providing grants to states so they can streamline their individual requirements for veterans with military medic training to become certified civilian EMTs.  By doing so, returning veterans will not have to start over at square one in their training and could enter the civilian workforce much sooner, bringing qualified, battle-tested health care workers to our communities.

According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 3.2 million veterans who have served in the recent war, and nearly half of these veterans are between the ages of 25 and 34. Among these veterans, the unemployment rate for men is 6.9 percent, while the unemployment rate was women was 9.6 percent.