05.08.08

ENZI COSPONSORS BIPARTISAN BILL TO HELP VETERANS BECOME PARAMEDICS

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, Ranking Member of theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), todaycosponsored legislation that will help returning troops in their transitions to civilianemployment by speeding paramedic training for veterans with military-based medicaltraining while addressing shortages of health care workers in rural areas. “The medical training that many of our service-members receive is of great valueboth on the battlefield and when they return home,” Enzi said. “This legislation willrecognize that value by promoting a smooth transition into the civilian emergencymedical service workforce. This bill will help our returning soldiers along rewardingcareer paths, while addressing the health care worker shortage in rural areas likeWyoming.” Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who introduced the bill, the “Veterans-to-Paramedics Transition Act,” and Senator Enzi and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) wereoriginal cosponsors. Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD) andRepresentative Jerry Moran (R-KS) sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives.Senator Klobuchar said: “On the one hand, we have a severe shortage ofemergency medical personnel in rural communities. On the other hand, we have anabundance of returning veterans who have significant training and experience. They’rean ideal talent pool to relieve the shortage.” Enzi said that for many veterans with military-based emergency medical trainingwho want to become certified Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel, collegesand technical schools require that they begin training at entry level. This squanders theiradvanced training and deters many from entering the health care workforce.Enzi said the bill will speed EMS certification for veterans and address healthcare worker shortages in rural areas by: • Providing federal grants for universities, colleges, and technical schools toestablish a fast-track certification path for military veterans who have military-basedmedical training;• Allowing these institutions to use these grants to develop appropriate trainingprograms to build upon military-based skills and training and prepare veterans andservicemembers for paramedic certification by national or state authorities; and,• Utilizing existing Department of Labor programs to facilitate the recruitment andplacement of newly-certified veterans and placement in rural areas of need. ####

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