By: Faith Joan c. Mesa-Gaerlan, MD

Achieving Unity for the Legislation of the EMS Bill

“Our collective role is to increase the awareness of the people we serve on the need to institutionalize emergency medical services (EMS),” rallied Dr. April B. LLaneta, Vice-President of the Philippine College of Emergency Medicine during the PCEM (Philippine College of Emergency Medicine) initiated meeting on advocating for the legislation of the EMS Bill (An Act INSTITUTIONALIZING A PRE-HOSPITAL EMERGENCY CARE SYSTEM, PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT, SUPERVISION AND REGULATION OF THE PRE-HOSPITAL EMERGENCY CARE PROFESSION). Various EMS groups met last September 6, 2013 at Manila Doctors Hospital to discuss the pending legislation. The meeting followed initial efforts by the Department of Health – National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC) to gather EMS stakeholders to discuss its project, “Development of Guidelines for the Establishment of Emergency Services Prior to Hospital Care.”

PCEM, through its Committee on EMS and Disaster Preparedness headed by Dr. Carlos Primero Gundran facilitated the meeting that drew out the support of participants from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Health – Office of Undersecretary Teodoro J. Herbosa and NCDPC, Philippine Society of Emergency Medical Technicians (PSEMT), Lifeline Ambulance Rescue, STATCARE, TRANSCARE, Amity (Bacolod); Life Support Training Institute, Philippine International EMS Registry, Asia’s Emergency Medical Institute (Davao), Local government unit (LGU)-based EMS groups from Quezon City, Makati, Pasig, Manila, Taguig.

The groups agreed to continue consultative meetings wherein the various stakeholders will have a consensus and unity on the proposed legislation. This shall be led by the DOH-NCDPC and PCEM. Afterwhich, PCEM hopes to strengthen the advocacy activities of the EMS network that shall push for the final passage of the bill into law.