House Approves Exum Bill to Assist EMS Workers with Stress

Not every EMS paramedic has access to physical, emotional, or psychological assistance

(Apr. 9) – The House approved Rep. Tony Exum’s bill to create a statewide, self-financed program of peer-to-peer and professional assistance to help Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics deal with the stresses of their job.

“Being an EMS paramedic is one of the most stressful jobs out there,” said Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs. “This bill gives emergency medical providers peer assistance when they are going through difficulties in their life and not able to perform their duties. We need to ensure that EMS workers are in the best shape physically and mentally to help save lives.”

Rep. Exum is a retired battalion chief in the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

SB19-065 creates a fund that will pay for a peer health assistance program which will evaluate, assist, and counsel EMS paramedics who are dealing with the stresses of their job. Whenever an EMS worker becomes certified or renews their certification, a small fee of $2.55 will be applied to create the program within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The bill is also sponsored by Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo.

Sometimes the toll and exposure to traumatic events in this position can frequently lead to depression, aggressive behaviors, substance abuse, and even suicide. If passed, this program can help EMS paramedics deal with many of these issues.

SB19-065 passed by a voice vote in the House. It will receive a final vote at a later date.

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