WEST virginia legislature
2020 regular session
Senate Bill 252
By Senators Baldwin, Lindsay, Stollings, Romano, and Facemire
10, 2020; referred
to the Committee on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on Finance]
A BILL to amend and reenact §16-4C-3 and §16-4C-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §16-4C-24, all relating to creating the Emergency Medical Services Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program; permitting emergency service personnel to have certain portions of their educational loans forgiven; granting the Emergency Medical Service Advisory Council the authority to approve loan forgiveness awards; establishing application criteria; establishing the amounts of awards; establishing requirements for the certification of personnel status; defining terms; and creating a special revenue account known as the Emergency Medical Services Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program Fund.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 4C. EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES ACT.
As used in this article, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:
(a) “Ambulance” means any privately or publicly-owned
vehicle or aircraft which is designed, constructed or modified; equipped or
maintained; and operated for the transportation of patients, including, but not
limited to, emergency medical services vehicles; rotary and fixed wing air
ambulances; gsa kkk-A-1822 federal standard type I, type II, and type III vehicles;
and specialized multipatient medical transport vehicles operated by an
emergency medical services agency;
“Approved institution of higher learning” means a degree-granting or certificate-granting educational institution, including a vocational school, that:
(1) Offers a postsecondary program of education;
(2) Is located in this state; and
(3) Is approved by the council.
“Approved program of education” means a curriculum or course of study pursued at an approved institution of higher learning as determined by the council.
(b) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of the Bureau
for Public Health; (c) “Council” means the Emergency Medical Service Advisory
Council created pursuant to this article; (d) “Director” means the Director of the Office of
Emergency Medical Service in the Bureau for Public Health. (e) “Emergency Medical Services” means all services which
are set forth in Public Law 93-154 “The Emergency Medical Services Systems Act
of 1973” and those included in and made a part of the emergency medical
services plan of the Department of Health and Human Resources inclusive of, but
not limited to, responding to the medical needs of an individual to prevent the
loss of life or aggravation of illness or injury; (f) “Emergency medical service agency” means any agency
licensed under §16-4C-6a of this code to provide emergency medical services; (g) “Emergency medical service personnel” means any
person certified by the commissioner to provide emergency medical services as
set forth by legislative rule; (h) “Emergency medical service provider” means any
authority, person, corporation, partnership or other entity, public or private,
which owns or operates a licensed emergency medical services agency providing
emergency medical service in this state; (i) “Governing body” has the meanings ascribed to it as
applied to a municipality in §8-1-2(b)(1) of this code; (j) “Line officer” means the emergency medical service
personnel, present at the scene of an accident, injury or illness, who has
taken the responsibility for patient care; (k) “Medical command” means the issuing of orders by a
physician from a medical facility to emergency medical service personnel for
the purpose of providing appropriate patient care; (l) “Municipality” has the meaning ascribed to it in §8-1-2(a)(1)
of this code; (m) “Patient” means any person who is a recipient of the
services provided by emergency medical services;
“Program” means the Emergency Medical Services Loan Forgiveness Program established in §16-4C-24 of this code.
“Qualified applicant” means active EMS personnel who qualifies for loan forgiveness under §16-4C-24 of this code.
(n) “Service reciprocity” means the provision of
emergency medical services to citizens of this state by emergency medical
service personnel certified to render those services by a neighboring state; (o) “Small emergency medical service provider” means any
emergency medical service provider which is made up of less than 20 emergency
medical service personnel; and (p) “Specialized multipatient medical transport” means a
type of ambulance transport provided for patients with medical needs greater
than those of the average population, which may require the presence of a
trained emergency medical technician during the transport of the patient: Provided,
That the requirement of “greater medical need” may not prohibit the
transportation of a patient whose need is preventive in nature.
§16-4C-5. Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council; duties; composition; appointment; meetings; compensation and expenses.
(a) The Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council, created and established by former §16-4C-7 of this code, is continued for the purpose of developing, with the commissioner, standards for emergency medical services personnel and for the purpose of providing advice to the Office of Emergency Medical Services and the commissioner with respect to reviewing and making recommendations for, and providing assistance to, the establishment and maintenance of adequate emergency medical services for all portions of this state.
(b) The council shall have
the duty to:
(1) Advise the commissioner in all matters pertaining to his or her duties and functions in relation to carrying out the purposes of this article; and
(2) Approve loan forgiveness awards for qualified applicants to the Emergency Medical Services Loan Forgiveness Program established by §16-4C-24 of this code.
(c) The council shall be composed of 18 members appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Mountain State Emergency Medical Services Association shall submit to the Governor a list of six names of representatives from its Association and a list of three names shall be submitted to the Governor of representatives of their respective organizations by the County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia, the West Virginia State Firemen’s Association, the West Virginia Hospital Association, the West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the West Virginia Emergency Medical Services Administrators Association, the West Virginia Emergency Medical Services Coalition, the Ambulance Association of West Virginia, and the State Department of Education. The Governor shall appoint from the respective lists submitted two persons who represent the Mountain State Emergency Medical Services Association, one of whom shall be a paramedic and one of whom shall be an emergency medical technician-basic; and one person from the County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia, the West Virginia State Firemen’s Association, the West Virginia Hospital Association, the West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the West Virginia Emergency Medical Services Administrators Association, the West Virginia Emergency Medical Services Coalition, the Ambulance Association of West Virginia, and the state Department of Education. In addition, the Governor shall appoint the following:
(1) One person to represent emergency medical services providers operating within the state;
(2) One person to represent small emergency medical services providers operating within this state;
(3) One person to represent emergency medical services training officers or representatives;
(4) Two people to represent emergency medical services supervisors or administrators; and
(5) Three persons to represent the general public who shall serve as voting members.
(d) Not more than six of the members may be appointed from any one congressional district.
(e) Each term is to be for three years, and no member may serve more than four consecutive terms.
(f) The council shall choose its own chairman and meet at the call of the commissioner at least twice a year.
(g) The members of the council shall receive compensation and expense reimbursement in an amount not to exceed the same compensation and expense reimbursement as is paid to members of the Legislature for their interim duties as recommended by the Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission and authorized by law for each day, or substantial portion thereof, engaged in the performance of official duties.
(a) Program established. -- The Emergency Medical Services Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program is established. The program shall provide loan forgiveness awards to qualified applicants in accordance with this section. The director shall administer the program for active EMS personnel on a statewide basis.
(b) Applicants. -- An active EMS personnel must meet the following criteria may apply to the director for loan forgiveness under this section:
(1) Is a resident of this state;
(2) Has been an active EMS personnel, as certified in accordance with this article for a period of at least one year in this state;
(3) Has enrolled as a student in an approved program of education and completed a postsecondary degree or certification program; and
(4) Provides the director with a sworn or official statement by the official representative of an emergency medical services agency attesting that the applicant is a member in good standing of the emergency medical services agency.
(c) Award of loan forgiveness. -- The council may provide loan forgiveness for an active EMS personnel who, in the first year as an active EMS personnel following completion of a postsecondary degree or certification program and, in each subsequent year, who meets all of the following criteria:
(1) Is a recipient of a federally insured student loan;
(2) Has completed a certificate or degree program at an approved institution of higher learning. The certificate or degree program must be an approved program of education;
(3) Is certified as an active EMS personnel, by the office of emergency medical services, for four consecutive years preceding the date of application; and
(4) Executes a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that the individual does not have a delinquent payment owing to any state governmental agency.
(d) Amount of awards. -- Federally insured student loans for an approved program of education provided to a qualified applicant may be forgiven by the council as follows:
(1) The council may award a qualified applicant’s loan in an amount up to $16,000.
(2) Payment of the award shall be made in accordance with the procedures established by the council.
(3) A qualified applicant may receive loan forgiveness awards as follows:
(A) First year of active EMS personnel status following graduation in an amount up to $4,000, but not exceeding 25 percent of the original qualifying loans.
(B) Second year of active EMS personnel status following graduation in an amount up to $4,000, but not exceeding 25 percent of the original qualifying loans.
(C) Third year of active EMS personnel status following graduation in an amount up to $8,000, but not exceeding 50 percent of the original qualifying loans.
(e) Preference. -- The council may give preference in approving loan forgiveness awards under the program to renewal applications.
(f) Funding. -- The council may approve loan forgiveness awards only to the extent that funds are appropriated by the Legislature and are sufficient to cover administration of the program. In the event that funding is insufficient to fully fund administration and awards to all qualified applicants, the council shall prorate loan forgiveness awards.
(g) Certification of personnel status. --
(1) Application. -- An applicant for certification as an active EMS personnel must submit a signed application to the official representative of an emergency medical services agency that the applicant serves.
(2) Local sign-off. -- The official representative of an emergency medical services agency, shall:
(A) Sign the application attesting to the individual’s status as an active EMS personnel; and
(B) Forward the application to the director for final review and processing.
(h) Fund. -- There is created in the State Treasury a special revenue account known as the “Emergency Medical Services Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program Fund” to be administered by the commissioner to implement the provisions of this section. Balances remaining in the fund at the end of the fiscal year do not expire or revert to the general revenue. All costs associated with the administration of this section shall be paid from the Emergency Medical Services Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program Fund under the direction of the director. Administrative costs are to be minimized and the maximum amount feasible is to be used to fund awards for students in emergency medical services programs.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the Emergency Medical Services Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program. The bill permitting emergency service personnel to have certain portions of their educational loans to be forgiven. The bill granting the Emergency Medical Service Advisory Council the authority to approve loan forgiveness awards. The bill establishes application criteria. The bill establishes the amounts of awards. The bill establishes requirements for the certification of personnel status. The bill defines terms. The bill creates a special revenue account known as the “Emergency Medical Services Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program Fund.”
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.