The Claims vs. The Truth

Always on Call

The claim: "Requires Private Sector Emergency Ambulance employees to remain on call during work breaks.” Implies that Private Sector Emergency Ambulance employees are currently NOT available during work breaks.

The TRUTH: Contrary to this claim, breaks never have and never will exempt paramedics and EMTs from responding to medical emergencies. If a call for service goes out in the 911 system the CLOSEST available ambulance MUST and ALWAYS will respond. If they are in the middle of a break, this means bypassing the restroom and leaving paid for food behind. This is a scare tactic placed into the proposition. With AND without Prop. 11 the closest available (meaning not actively caring for or on the way to another patient) ambulance will respond to your medical emergency.

Mental Health Services Available Now

The claim: “Requires employers to provide employees certain mental health services. Mental health and wellness education shall inform emergency ambulance employees of available mental health treatments and support services, and provide general information regarding common mental health illnesses.” Implies that mental health services are not currently offered.

The TRUTH: This holds the employer responsible for nothing more than providing a contact list of mental health resources. Paramedics and EMTs already receive all of these ACTUAL services through our medical insurance providers. In addition to medical insurance, paramedics and EMTs have access to an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) teams that are responsible for ensuring that employees are assisted with the psychological aftermath of being exposed to traumatic events. 

Already Training Regularly

The claim: “Every emergency ambulance employee shall annually receive employer paid training in each of the following areas: 1) Responding to active shooter and mass casualty incidents; 2) Responding to natural disasters; and 3) Preventing violence against emergency ambulance employees and patients.” Per Prop 11 this training is required to be free of charge with employees getting paid to attend at their regular hourly rate.

The TRUTH: Paramedics and EMTs already receive annual training in these areas and are compensated at their regular hourly rate for it. Many paramedics and EMTs also participate in internationally recognized training programs like Urban Shield, which is the largest urban full scale readiness exercise in the United States.

Thought Provoking Questions

Who supports this Proposition?

The California Official Voter Information Guide lists the "Californians for Emergency Preparedness and Safety" as a contact for additional information about what a "yes" vote would mean. As evidenced here, American Medical Response (AMR) is their sole financial contributor. AMR is also the largest private ambulance company in the nation.

Why would AMR spend $21,000,000 on this prop instead of using it to implement their ideas?

If passed, Prop 11 will excuse AMR from pending lawsuits (employer liabilities) in actions pending on or after October 25, 2017 for violations of already existing laws regarding work breaks. This means they would no longer be responsible for a (currently estimated) $100,000,000 lawsuit against them.

If passed, Prop 11 removes compensation to paramedics and EMTs for missed meal breaks by superceding current California Labor Laws. Currently, paramedics and EMTs receive additional compensation for missed meal breaks. This financial motivation (missed break compensation) is the only incentive that private ambulance companies have to actually attempt to provide meal breaks for paramedics and EMTs during their long shifts. If Prop 11 passes, there will be absolutely no incentive to give paramedics and EMTs meal and bathroom breaks. Private ambulance companies will have the option to skip lunch breaks all together without penalty. This could lead to placing fewer ambulances on the street in order to increase profits, putting the public at great risk by increasing the amount of time it takes for an ambulance to reach you.

***Please note that a majority of private ambulance paramedics and EMTs don't operate in houses or stations like the Fire Department. We live behind the wheel and often drive in predisposed patterns around counties in anticipation of future emergency medical calls. We frequently do not make it to a street post due to calls for service coming in when the public requires emergency medical care. Our access to basic human necessities (bathrooms, microwaves, food vendors) is often limited and sometimes non-existent (especially at night).