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Posted on February 12, 2013 | 8:03 p.m.

House OKs Capps Bill to Help Military Medics Join Civilian Health-Care Workforce

Source: Ashley Schapitl for Rep. Lois Capps

The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously approved the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act (House Resolution 235), a bipartisan bill co-authored by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act would assist states in streamlining their certification requirements for veterans with military medical training who want to continue their career as emergency medical technicians in the civilian workforce. The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act was passed by the House in the 112th Congress, but did not receive Senate consideration.

“Our military men and women receive some of the best technical training in emergency medicine — and they prove their skills on the battlefield every day,” Capps said. “When they return home, however, experienced military medics are often required to begin their training completely over at the most basic level to receive certification for civilian jobs. This unnecessarily keeps our veterans out of the workforce and withholds valuable medical personnel from our communities. This important issue received attention in the presidential debates last year, with President Obama speaking about the importance of making it easier for our medics to join the civilian health care workforce. Our legislation would go a long way toward eliminating this roadblock.”

Currently, many veteran military medics are required to take classes they have already completed in the military to satisfy the civilian licensure system, needlessly delaying their entry into the civilian workforce and driving up educational costs. This bipartisan legislation would make the process more efficient by providing grants to states so they can streamline their individual requirements for veterans with military medic training to become certified civilian EMTs.

By doing so, returning veterans will not have to start over at square one in their training and could enter the civilian workforce much sooner, bringing qualified, battle-tested health-care workers to our communities.

“Illinois is home to about 800,000 veterans who have made major sacrifices to ensure the security of our nation,” Kinzinger said. “The least we can do is work to create a more efficient and expedient process for these well-trained men and women as they attempt to re-enter the civilian workforce. I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Capps to streamline the process for military EMTs. Our veterans are now looking to the Senate to take up this commonsense jobs legislation and recognize that it is an important step to quickly and effectively help our men and women as they transition from the battlefield to civilian life.”

Bradley Mora, a veteran enrolled at Santa Barbara City College, said, “While serving abroad I had the opportunity to work with one of the finest medics I have ever met. ‘Doc’ was a consummate professional, a capable medic, and incredibly dedicated to his craft. As an infantry NCO I cannot begin to describe how much confidence my soldiers garnered from these traits. It is a certain kind of man and woman that become these servants of servants, these caretakers of warriors: soldiers, sailors and Marines alike. And yet they come back, after they have done their duty and ask to serve again, to bring their skills and dedication back to their field to serve on a larger scale.

“I am thankful that both their skills and sacrifices are being recognized and being more efficiently put to good use. I can promise you that you will not be in better hands.”

The bill has been sent to the Senate where it is awaiting further action.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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