Clinton, Miss. — On behalf of military veterans, and representing the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), Ben Chlapek, Deputy Chief, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Blue Springs, Mo., is testifyed on July 11 to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health at a hearing titled “Helping Veterans with Emergency Medical Training Transition to Civilian Service.”
The focus of the hearing will be on H.R. 4124, the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2012, legislation that would assist states in streamlining their certification requirements for veterans with military medic training who want to continue their career as EMTs or paramedics in the civilian workforce.
In his testimony, Chlapek stated that the hearing is extremely important in developing policies that honor the training of military medics so they can smoothly transition into the EMS civilian workforce and provide their valuable medical skills to communities across the U.S.
“Military veterans receive some of the best medical training and experience available when serving our country. Their sacrifices, commitment to duty, and ability to get the job done in austere environments make them exceptionally well suited for working as EMTs and paramedics in our communities upon their release from the armed services,” Chlapek says.
Chlapek detailed cases of work-ready veterans being stymied by varying and prohibitive requirements even though they are more than qualified to serve as civilian EMS professionals. View Chlapek's full testimony here.
Congressmen Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (R-11th) and Congresswoman Lois Capps of California (D-23rd) introduced the bipartisan bill H.R. 4124 this past March to address veteran transition issues. The legislation continues to achieve bipartisan support of 13 Democrats and 17 Republicans. H.R. 4124 provides demonstration grants to states with shortages of EMS practitioners to help streamline state requirements and make allowances for returning veterans to enter the EMS workforce without unnecessary duplication of their training by determining the extent to which the state requirements for education and training of EMTs and paramedics are equivalent to that of the military, and identifying methods, such as waivers, for qualified military medics to forego duplicative requirements.
Watch the hearing here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/. For more information on H.R. 4124, view the bill text and summary here: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.112hr4124.
Chlapek is a paramedic and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who served 36 years, with tours in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Central America and other countries. He holds undergraduate degrees in chemistry and fire science and two Masters degrees in public administration and homeland defense and security. He has served as faculty at Louisiana State University. He serves on numerous national, state and local committees, including the Missouri Governor’s Advisory Council for EMS and as the Chair of NAEMT’s Military Relations Committee.
Formed in 1975 and today more than 32,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is the only national association dedicated to representing the professional interests of all emergency medical services (EMS) practitioners, including paramedics, advanced emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical responders and other professionals working in prehospital emergency medicine. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government service agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings, and in the military.