Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee Chairman Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., the lead sponsor of legislation (S-1650/A-2463) to improve emergency medical services statewide, issued the following statement Thursday on Gov. Christie’s veto of the measure:
“I’m disappointed that the Governor has again vetoed common-sense reforms that would modernize the delivery of EMS services in our state.
“This legislation is the product of a comprehensive study of New Jersey’s EMS system that was released in 2007. Since then, New Jersey residents have been waiting for much needed reform.
“This bill would have brought New Jersey’s statewide EMS system up to the standard of our neighboring states with common-sense measures such as background checks, basic standards of care, and medical accountability.
“Providing excellent care for our citizens in their greatest hour of need is a responsibility that our brave first responders take seriously. As elected officials, we should also take seriously our obligation to make sure that every person who dials 9-1-1 receives that excellent care.
“I will continue working with stakeholders, my colleagues and Governor Christie toward this goal,” said Conaway (D-Burlington).
According to a 2007 report that was issued after a comprehensive analysis was conducted at the behest of the Legislature, New Jersey’s two-tiered EMS system is in a “state of near crisis” due to the system’s financial structure, decline in volunteer membership, lack of comprehensive legislation and a weakened Advanced Life Support (ALS) system. The bill vetoed by Christie incorporates many of the recommendations from the report.