CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia health officials said Thursday they will file an emergency amendment to rules affecting Emergency Medical Services at many state fire departments.
Legislation passed by the state lawmakers outlines the rules EMS agencies must meet in order to provide medical services treatment.
In late September the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) shut down many EMT rapid response teams in local fire departments statewide for about 36 hours because the departments didn’t have affiliation agreements with an EMS agency.
The state defines an EMS agency as “an entity that intends to provide emergency medical services that include patient transport to and from medical facilities.”
Even though the EMTs themselves were qualified and had the proper certifications and licenses to perform live-saving procedures the departments they worked for didn’t have the necessary agreements in place.
Issued on Friday, September 20th, OMES reversed itself two days later, allowing the EMT teams to continue operating while a fix to the problem was hammered out.
Now the state says it will file an amendment to the legislation allowing rapid response services to continue working without those agreements while the declared State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“These dedicated workers are vital to the state’s COVID-19 response and we acknowledge their deep commitment to serving West Virginians,” said DHHR Secretary Bill J. Crouch in announcing the change in policy.