NEMSPA issue statement on Senate EMS bill

NEMSPA issue statement on Senate EMS bill

20-Sep-2010 Source: NEMSPA

With regards to Senate Bill S. 848 and H.R. 097, cited as the “Helicopter Medical Services Patient Safety, Protection, and Coordination Act”, the Board of Directors for the National EMS Pilots Association emphasizes the following:

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the expertise, background and processes for implementing rules that govern the certification and continued operation of pilots and aircraft, and changes, enhancements or additions to rules that might affect such certifications and operations ought to utilize existing and proven FAA channels and procedures.
  • NEMSPA is opposed to providing individual States with the authority to develop any rules that are traditionally determined and enforced by the FAA, as described above.
  • NEMSPA is generally opposed to any congressional act that results in rulemaking that would affect issues that are traditionally the responsibility of the FAA, as described above.

NEMSPA takes a neutral position on those elements of the referenced bills that address medical or business practices. However, there is concern that even though it is stated that no regulations enacted by a State can infringe on or be inconsistent with applicable Federal operating regulations, some language in the bills appears to contradict this requirement. For example, on page 9 of Senate Bill S. 848, line # 18 et seq. the States would be given the right to “ensure that the helicopter has no structural or functional defects that may adversely affect such personnel . . .” This appears to refer to aircraft operational requirements that are addressed by Federal Aviation Regulations in the form of the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) established by the FAA for all aircraft, and which applies to air medical helicopters. Any modification to these aircraft requirements would require FAA approval.

In light of the foregoing, and to insure that any actual implementation of this bill results in an optimum system of air medical transport services in each State, NEMSPA’s position is to emphasize the importance of avoiding any State rules that would infringe upon any Federal operating requirements.

Kent Johnson, President
For the Board
National EMS Pilots Association

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