Left Behind in California: Comparing Community Paramedicine Policies Across States


Janet Coffman and Connie Kwong

November 14, 2019

Community paramedicine is a growing health care model in which emergency medical professionals such as paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) work beyond their traditional emergency care roles and provide nonemergency care. This model is based on local need and seeks to avoid unnecessary emergency department (ED) use and to connect underserved populations with health care resources. Services are integrated into local or regional health care systems and overseen by emergency and primary care physicians. Examples of services include furnishing posthospital follow-up care, providing health education programs, giving immunizations, and referring or transporting 911 callers to more appropriate care centers, such as mental health centers, sobering centers, primary care physicians’ offices, or community health centers.

This paper provides an overview of state laws governing community paramedicine across the United States, including laws describing their scope of practice, educational requirements, and reimbursement policies. Examining other states’ policies can inform California’s efforts to build upon its ongoing pilot community paramedicine project by enacting legislation that would authorize the practice of community paramedicine statewide.