New scope of practice gives Indiana EMTs more lifesaving skills

Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Changes are coming to what EMTs are allowed to do in an emergency, and some people say these changes could save lives.

“I would say that these interventions they’ve chosen will likely save lives in the state of Indiana,” said IEMS Medical Director Mark Liao.

Indiana issued changes to the Scope of Practice, including the following for EMT’s:

  • CPAP: The EMT and AEMT levels will now include CPAP ventilatory assistance. There will
    be an Acadis course developed and available for all EMTs and AEMTs as an educational
    offering. In order to authorize performance of this skill/procedure, the provider organization
    and medical director must approve in written protocol and then provide skills training and
    credentialing.
  • End tidal CO2 / Waveform Capnography: The EMT and AEMT levels will now include end
    tidal CO2 monitoring and interpretation. There will be an Acadis course developed and
    available for all EMTs and AEMTs as an educational offering. In order to authorize
    performance of this skill/procedure, the provider organization and medical director must
    approve in written protocol and then provide skills training and credentialing.
  • Nebulized bronchodilators: The EMT level will now include nebulized bronchodilators, beta
    agonists and anticholinergics (albuterol, atrovent). There will be an Acadis course developed
    and available for all EMTs as an educational offering. In order to authorize performance of
    this skill/procedure, the provider organization and medical director must approve in written
    protocol and then provide skills training and credentialing.
  • OTC Pain Medication: The EMT and AEMT levels will now include OTC pain management.
    In order to authorize performance of this skill/procedure, the provider organization and
    medical director must approve in written protocol and then provide skills training and
    credentialing.

“It’s a lot of responsibility and a big change for EMTs,” Liao said. “We’re giving them a lot more tools to save lives.”

The new scope of practice is set to begin on March 1, but EMS providers have already started training.

Liao believes one of the more important changes is the CPAP, something that up until now only paramedics could use. Liao believes letting EMT’s use this tool will save lives.

“If you use it on a dozen patients you’ll actually save one of their lives because you will prevent them to go on a ventilator,” Liao said, “We think the sooner this gets done it will make a big difference.”

Liao says the change will be most felt in rural communities where hospitals are further away. The national shortage of paramedics could also be a reason this change is important.

“I think if EMTs first learn it, they’ll actually be surprised how easy it is and will wonder why they didn’t have it sooner,” Liao said.

With more skills, EMTs will now be able to help more patients and in some cases, save more lives.

On Tuesday, IEMS is welcoming in 23 new paramedics and EMTs.

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