The Medical Director of Los Angeles County‘s Emergency Medical Services Agency has expanded the scope of practice for first-responders including emergency medical technicians, advanced EMTs, and paramedics to aid in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s State of Emergency declaration provided the county the authority to do so.
The expanded procedures performed by EMTs and paramedics will be supervised locally by nurses, nurse practitioners or physicians, and provide additional personnel to facilities severely impacted by the virus.
“The expanded scope of practice allows EMTs or paramedics within Los Angeles County to provide staff support to some of our most vulnerable populations, such as skilled nursing facilities or the homeless in alternate care sites,” said Dr. Marianne Gausche-Hill, Medical Director, Los Angeles County EMS Agency.
Benefits and advantages of added scope for first-responders:
* EMT assisted administration of prescription oral medications
* Paramedic facilitated phlebotomy
* Paramedic dispensing of prescribed medications from bubble packs and/or multidose containers
* Paramedic administration of ocular medications
* Paramedic administration of transdermal medications
* Paramedic administration of inhaled medications
* Paramedic administration of intravenous medications
* Paramedic administration of intramuscular medications
* Paramedic administration of subcutaneous injection medications
This expanded scope of paramedic practice will help alleviate strain on congregate settings during this pandemic and supports the unanimous vote on April 28 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors calling for comprehensive measures to strengthen protections for residents and staff at skilled nursing homes, among other congregate settings, who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency serves as the lead agency for the emergency medical services system in the County and is responsible for coordinating all system participants in its jurisdiction, encompassing both public and private sectors. In California, counties have been given the primary responsibility for assuring that EMS systems are developed and implemented and for designating a local EMS agency. The EMS Agency is actively involved in the disaster response and coordinates with regional and state partners to ensure the safety of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Los Angeles County has one of the largest EMS systems in the nation and, as one of the first to be developed, is known nationally and worldwide as a leader in the field of prehospital care. The system utilizes over 18,000 certified EMS personnel first-responders employed by fire departments, law enforcement, ambulance companies, hospitals and private organizations to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.