STAND. COM. REP. NO. 972
RE: H.B. No. 1410
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2017
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred H.B. No. 1410, H.D. 2, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Repeal the emergency medical services special fund and redirect the special fund's revenue sources to the general fund;
(2) Appropriate general funds in an amount equal to the emergency medical services special fund revenues for fiscal year 2015-2016 to the Department of Health for purposes of overseeing the state comprehensive emergency medical services system;
(3) Require and appropriate funds to the Department of Health to establish and report to the Legislature on a two-year pilot program that permits county regulation and operation of ambulance service in the County of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu and preserves the Department's statewide systems for billing and collections, communications, and medical records;
(4) Authorize the counties to expend a portion of Transient Accommodations Tax revenues to purchase vehicles, equipment, and supplies, and pay any other costs incurred to supplement existing ambulance services; and
(5) Establish and appropriate funds for a three-year Community Paramedic Services Pilot Program, to be administered by the Department of Health.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the American Medical Response and two individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Maui County Council, Office of the Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i, Honolulu Emergency Services Department, County Council of Maui, and two individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Health, Tax Foundation of Hawaii, County of Hawai‘i Fire Department, and Hana Health.
Your Committee finds that it is essential that emergency medical services are provided with sufficient resources to ensure the safety and health of residents in this State. Presently, the emergency medical services special fund provides funding for emergency medical services through revenue from the cigarette tax, motor vehicle registration fee, and investment pool returns. However, by repealing the emergency medical services special fund and designating general funds to the emergency medical services system, this measure provides a more stable source of revenue or method of finance to assure uninterrupted services and continuity of the State's emergency medical services system.
Your Committee notes the significant amount of testimony on this measure indicating that the existing statewide comprehensive emergency medical services system functions well and is effective and that each county should not be responsible for regulating and operating its own ambulance services. Your Committee concurs and finds that it is important for the State to have an integrated, statewide emergency medical services system. Your Committee acknowledges that each county's emergency medical services are unique to the needs of the area but finds that working together as a statewide system is valuable and necessary to safeguard public health and safety consistently across the State.
Your Committee further finds that community paramedic services can improve health in the State by addressing calls involving non-emergency services, post hospital discharge care, the homeless population, hospice care, behavioral health, and acute and chronic medical conditions. Your Committee received testimony from the Hawai‘i Fire Department indicating that community paramedic services are well received by the community, significantly improve long term quality of life for community members, and produce measureable cost savings.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Deleting the provision that authorized the counties to expend a portion of the Transient Accommodations Tax revenues to purchase items related to ambulance services;
(2) Deleting the provisions related to the pilot program permitting county regulation and operation of ambulance services in the County of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu;
(3) Deleting the provisions related to a three-year Community Paramedic Services Pilot Program and inserting a blank appropriation amount for community paramedic services; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1410, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1410, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair