By Pacific Island Times News Staff
There are better chances of saving lives during emergency situations on Guam if the island has more paramedics, who are adequately trained and properly equipped.
This is the goal of Speaker Therese Terlaje's Bill 335-36, which was publicly heard on Tuesday.
If enacted, the bill would bring "ER to the door," Assistant Fire Chief Daren Burrier said in his testimony. “We're going to have paramedics arrive with all the medications that they are going to need," he said.
The paramedics will be able to start IVs and perform advanced cardiac life support measures in the field prior to arrival, which will help patients increase their chances to survive outside the hospital, Burrier added.
Terlaje said the proposed legislation intends to update Guam's emergency medical services policy to align with the national certification standards and facilitate local certification for paramedics, in addition to implementing licensure fees to fund special training programs that will enhance healthcare services on island.
Fire Chief Daniel Stone said the bill would enable the Guam Fire Department to continue its goal of modernizing the Advanced Life Support units with licensed paramedics.
In addition, he said acknowledging the national standards for all emergency healthcare providers will greatly enhance the services provided to the community by both public and private entities.
Dorothy Duenas, the administrator of the School of Allied Health at Guam Community College, also testified in support of the bill. She said GCC has partnered with the School of EMS based out of Tyler, Texas to educate and complete 15 of Guam’s GFD personnel to become paramedics on Guam.
According to Guam Memorial Hospital, the National Registry Certified Paramedic is the highest national prehospital certification for medical first responders and until last month, Guam did not have any paramedic-certified first responders for the community outside those working for military installations.
“This bill is coupled with additional proposals by my committee to modernize certification, licensing, and reporting efforts that address policy gaps with the ultimate goal of improving healthcare services on Guam," Terlaje said.
"If this bill should pass into law, it will be a major milestone in bringing lifesaving resources to the doorsteps of our residents.”