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Expanding rural health care
FROM THE STATE SENATOR

Expanding rural health care

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I am committed to expanding access to rural health care in Nebraska.

For the past two years I’ve been working with the state Emergency Medical Services board and Department of Health and Human Services to modernize EMS regulations. These changes affecting individual training and operations will have a significant impact to our state’s EMS. Under the new regulations, our EMS providers will be able to stay up to date with the best medical practices and treatments. Also implemented in the new regulations is the ability for people to complete EMS courses online.

In rural areas of the state the 160 hours of course work is burdensome for many to complete when having to attend in-person classes. This change will allow individuals to complete their on-line courses at their pace as well as encourage others to enter the EMS professions.

While working with the EMS board I was made aware of several statewide issues and needs. One specific issue was with the eNARSIS computer program used to report patient care during transport. Several volunteer EMS providers explained the system was tedious, time-consuming, too difficult to use and did not allow administrators to retrieve data. Often, the report took longer to complete than the transport of the patient. Working with DHHS they are making a number of changes suggested creating a more user friendly system that will enhance patient care.

I’ve introduced LB893 and LB1002 this session to further expand access to rural health. LB1002 as amended with LB893 is my priority bill. LB893 allows the EMS board to create two new licensure classifications for EMS providers; critical care paramedicine and community paramedicine. Critical care paramedics will be trained in advanced life saving techniques that could be administered during the transport of a patient. Community paramedics would perform home visits, help administer medications, and perform post-surgery check-ups reducing costs while saving time for patients. LB1002 allows EMS to restock critical medical supplies used during transport of patients, at hospital pharmacies instead of through drug distributors saving money while keeping their unit is service.

This Fourth of July, I hope you will take time to be with family and friends to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as a nation and state. In a time of increased division within our country, we should all reflect on and celebrate the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, which set our country on a path towards becoming the greatest nation in the world. If celebrating with fireworks, please take extra care when lighting them. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2018 there were 9,100 firework related injuries with 33% of the cases involving children under the age of 15. I want to wish everyone a safe and wonderful Fourth of July.

We continue praying for everyone as we continue to face the COVID-19 challenge. We are empathically here to listen to your concerns and encourage you to contact my office at 402-471-2719 or by email bbostelman@leg.ne.gov with questions or if you need assistance.

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