After many months of being on “the back burner,” Act 45 revisions, know as the EMS Act of 2006, is again on the move. The Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council has requested input on their web site before the final draft is presented to the Department of Health and to the Legislature for final consideration. As liaisons to the PEHSC, Lane Bower and I have been actively following the EMS Act for the last few years. The current Act 45 does not have any provisions for Physician Assistants to serve in Pre Hospital roles, unless they have Paramedic or EMT certification and function in those roles.

Thankfully, the new revisions to the Act include PAs in several areas. The first mention is in the definitions, where Pre Hospital Physician Assistants (PHPA) are defined as certified by the DOH as a PHPA.

The bulk of PHPA discussion occurs in Section 18, where specific credentials of PHPA’s are listed, and include age above 18, BLS and ACLS certified, and written as well as practical examination requirements that will be created by the DOH. This section also discusses continuing education requirements for PHPA’s. Gratefully, our language is very similar to the language of the following section regarding Pre Hospital Physicians.

The last change involves vehicle coverage. The language used for staffing BLS ambulances, ALS ambulances, and ALS squad vehicles does not preclude PAs from staffing these vehicles. Of note, the Air Ambulance language did not change, and does not allow a PA to staff the aircraft.

Lastly, PAs are not included in Medical Command language in Section 25. We will continue to monitor this and make appropriate suggestions when the opportunities arise. If you would like to read the EMS Act of 2006 for yourself, it may be found on the PEHSC website at, and click on the “Star of Life” icon.