Article 7.

Regulation of Emergency Medical Services.

131E-155. Definitions.

As used in this Article, unless otherwise specified:

(1) "Advanced emergency medical technician" means an individual who has completed an educational program in emergency medical care approved by the Department and has been credentialed as an advanced emergency medical technican by the Department.

(1a) "Ambulance" means any privately or publicly owned motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel that is specially designed, constructed, or modified and equipped and is intended to be used for and is maintained or operated for the transportation of patients on the streets or highways, waterways or airways of this State.

(2) Repealed by Session Laws 1997-443, s. 11A.129C.

(3) Recodified as subdivision (13a).

(4) "Commission" means the North Carolina Medical Care Commission.

(5) "Emergency medical dispatcher" means an emergency telecommunicator who has completed an educational program approved by the Department and has been credentialed as an emergency medical dispatcher by the Department.

(5a) "Emergency medical responder" means an individual who has completed an educational program in emergency medical care and first aid approved by the Department and has been credentialed as an emergency medical responder by the Department.

(6) "Emergency medical services" means services rendered by emergency medical services personnel in responding to improve the health and wellness of the community and to address the individual's need for emergency medical care within the scope of practice as defined by the North Carolina Medical Board in accordance with G.S. 143-514 in order to prevent loss of life or further aggravation of physiological or psychological illness or injury.

(6a) "Emergency medical services instructor" means an individual who has completed educational requirements approved by the Department and has been credentialed as an emergency medical services instructor by the Department.

(6b) "Emergency Medical Services Peer Review Committee" means a panel composed of EMS program representatives to be responsible for analyzing patient care data and outcome measures to evaluate the ongoing quality of patient care, system performance, and medical direction within the EMS system. The committee membership shall include physicians, nurses, EMS personnel, medical facility personnel, and county government officials. Review of medical records by the EMS Peer Review Committee is confidential and protected under G.S. 143-518. An EMS Peer Review Committee, its members, proceedings, records and materials produced, and materials considered shall be afforded the same protections afforded Medical Review Committees, their members, proceedings, records, and materials under G.S. 131E-95.

(7) "Emergency medical services personnel" means all the personnel defined in subdivisions (1), (5), (5a), (6a), (8), (9), (10), (15), and (15a) of this section.

(8) "Emergency medical services-nurse practitioner" means a registered nurse who is licensed to practice nursing in North Carolina and approved to perform medical acts by the North Carolina Medical Board and the North Carolina Board of Nursing. Upon successful completion of an orientation program conducted under the authority of the medical director and approved by the Department, emergency medical services-nurse practitioners shall be approved by the medical director to issue instructions to EMS personnel. These instructions shall be in accordance with protocols approved by the EMS system and Office of Emergency Medical Services and under the direction of the medical director.

(9) "Emergency medical services-physician assistant" means a physician assistant who is licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board. Upon successful completion of an orientation program conducted under the authority of the medical director and approved by the Department, emergency medical services-physician assistants shall be approved by the medical director to issue instructions to EMS personnel. These instructions shall be in accordance with protocols approved by the EMS system and Office of Emergency Medical Services and under the direction of the medical director.

(10) "Emergency medical technician" means an individual who has completed an educational program in emergency medical care approved by the Department and has been credentialed as an emergency medical technician by the Department.

(11) Repealed by Session Laws 2003-392, s. 2(a), effective August 7, 2003.

(12), (13) [Reserved.]

(13a) "EMS provider" means a firm, corporation or association which engages in or professes to provide emergency medical services.

(14) [Reserved.]

(15) "Mobile intensive care nurse" means a registered nurse who is licensed to practice nursing in North Carolina and is approved by the medical director, following successful completion of an orientation program conducted under the authority of the medical director and approved by the Department, to issue instructions to EMS personnel. These instructions shall be in accordance with protocols approved by the EMS system and Office of Emergency Medical Services and under the direction of the medical director.

(15a) "Paramedic" means an individual who has completed an educational program in emergency medical care approved by the Department and has been credentialed as a paramedic by the Department.

(16) "Patient" means an individual who is sick, injured, wounded, or otherwise incapacitated or helpless such that the need for some medical assistance might be anticipated.

(17) "Practical examination" means a test where an applicant for credentialing as an emergency medical technician, emergency medical responder, advanced emergency medical technician, or paramedic demonstrates the ability to perform specified emergency medical care skills. (1983, c. 775, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 11A.129C; 2001-210, s. 1; 2003-392, s. 2(a); 2015-290, s. 1.)

 

131E-155.1. EMS Provider License required.

(a) No firm, corporation, or association shall furnish, operate, conduct, maintain, advertise, or otherwise engage in or profess to provide emergency medical services or transport patients upon the streets or highways, waterways, or airways in North Carolina unless a valid EMS Provider License has been issued by the Department.

(b) Before an EMS Provider License may be issued, the firm, corporation, or association seeking the license shall apply to the Department for this license. Application shall be made upon forms and according to procedures established by the Department. Prior to issuing an original or renewal EMS Provider License, the Department shall determine that the applicant meets all requirements for this license as set forth in this Article and in the rules adopted under this Article. EMS Provider Licenses shall be valid for a period specified by the Department, provided that the period shall be a minimum of four years unless action is taken under subsection (d) of this section.

(c) The Commission shall adopt rules setting forth the qualifications required for obtaining or renewing an EMS Provider License.

(d) The Department may deny, suspend, amend, or revoke an EMS Provider License in any case where the Department finds that there has been a substantial failure to comply with the provisions of this Article or the rules adopted under this Article. The Department's decision to deny, suspend, amend, or revoke an EMS Provider License may be appealed by the applicant or licensee pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, the Administrative Procedure Act.

(e) Operating as an EMS provider without a valid EMS Provider License is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Each day's operation as an EMS provider without a license is a separate offense. (1995, c. 413, s. 1; 2001-210, s. 1.)

 

131E-156. Permit required to operate ambulance.

(a) No person, firm, corporation, or association, either as owner, agent, provider, or otherwise, shall furnish, operate, conduct, maintain, advertise, or otherwise engage in or profess to be engaged in the business or service of transporting patients upon the streets or highways, waterways or airways in North Carolina unless a valid permit from the Department has been issued for each ambulance used in the business or service.

(b) Before a permit may be issued for a vehicle to be operated as an ambulance, the EMS provider shall apply to the Department for an ambulance permit. Application shall be made upon forms and according to procedures established by the Department. Prior to issuing an original or renewal permit for an ambulance, the Department shall determine that the vehicle for which the permit is issued meets all requirements as to equipment, design, supplies and sanitation as set forth in this Article and in the rules of the Commission and that the EMS provider has the credentialed personnel necessary to operate the ambulance in accordance with this Article. Permits issued for ambulances shall be valid for a period specified by the Department, not to exceed four years.

(c) Duly authorized representatives of the Department may issue temporary permits for vehicles not meeting required standards for a period not to exceed 60 days, when it determines the public interest will be served.

(d) When a permit has been issued for an ambulance as specified by this Article, the vehicle and records relating to the maintenance and operation of the vehicle shall be open to inspection by duly authorized representatives of the Department at all reasonable times. (1967, c. 343, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 1224, s. 1; 1983, c. 775, s. 1; 2001-210, s. 1.)

 

131E-157. Standards for equipment; inspection of equipment and supplies required for ambulances.

(a) The Commission shall adopt rules specifying equipment, sanitation, supply and design requirements for ambulances.

(b) The Department shall inspect each ambulance for compliance with the requirements set forth by the Commission and this Article when it deems an inspection is necessary. The Department shall maintain a record of the inspection.

(c) Upon a determination, based upon an inspection, that an ambulance fails to meet the requirements of this Article or rules adopted under this Article, the Department may deny, suspend, or revoke the permit for the ambulance concerned until these requirements are met. (1967, c. 343, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 1224, s. 1; 1983, c. 775, s. 1; 2001-210, s. 1.)

 

131E-158. Credentialed personnel required.

(a) Every ambulance when transporting a patient shall be occupied at a minimum by all of the following:

(1) At least one emergency medical technician who shall be responsible for the medical aspects of the mission prior to arrival at the medical facility, assuming no other individual with higher credentials is available.

(2) One emergency medical responder who is responsible for the operation of the vehicle and rendering assistance to the emergency medical technician.

An ambulance owned and operated by a licensed health care facility that is used solely to transport sick or infirm patients with known nonemergency medical conditions between facilities or between a residence and a facility for scheduled medical appointments is exempt from the requirements of this subsection.

(b) The Commission shall adopt rules setting forth exemptions to the requirements stated in (a) of this section applicable to situations where exemptions are considered by the Commission to be in the public interest. (1967, c. 343, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 725; c. 1224, s. 1; 1975, c. 612; 1983, c. 775, s. 1; 1989, c. 300; 1997-443, s. 11A.129D; 2001-210, s. 1; 2015-290, s. 2.)

 

131E-159. Credentialing requirements.

(a) Individuals seeking credentials as an emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician, paramedic, emergency medical responder, emergency medical dispatcher, or emergency medical services instructor shall apply to the Department using forms prescribed by that agency. The Department's representatives shall examine the applicant by either written, practical, or written and practical examination. The Department shall issue appropriate credentials to the applicant who meets all the requirements set forth in this Article and the rules adopted for this Article and who successfully completes the examinations required for credentialing. Emergency medical technician, emergency medical responder, emergency medical dispatcher, advanced emergency medical technician, paramedic, and emergency medical services instructor credentials shall be valid for a period not to exceed four years and may be renewed if the holder meets the requirements set forth in the rules of the Commission. The Department is authorized to revoke or suspend these credentials at any time it determines that the holder no longer meets the qualifications prescribed.

(b) The Commission shall adopt rules setting forth the qualifications required for credentialing of emergency medical responders, emergency medical technicians, advanced emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers, and emergency medical services instructors.

(c) Individuals currently credentialed as an emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician, paramedic, emergency medical responder, and emergency medical services instructor by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians or by another state where the education/credentialing requirements have been approved for legal recognition by the Department of Health and Human Services, in accordance with rules promulgated by the Medical Care Commission, and who is either currently residing in North Carolina or affiliated with a permitted EMS provider offering service within North Carolina, may be eligible for credentialing as an emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician, paramedic, emergency medical responder, and emergency medical services instructor without examination. This credentialing shall be valid for a period not to exceed the length of the applicant's original credentialing or four years, whichever is less.

(d) An individual currently credentialed as an emergency medical dispatcher by a national credentialing agency, or by another state where the education/credentialing requirements have been approved for legal recognition by the Department of Health and Human Services, in accordance with rules issued by the Medical Care Commission, and who is either currently residing in North Carolina or affiliated with an emergency medical dispatcher program approved by the Department of Health and Human Services offering service within North Carolina, may be eligible for credentialing as an emergency medical dispatcher without examination. This credentialing shall be valid for a period not to exceed the length of the applicant's original credentialing or four years, whichever is less.

(e) Duly authorized representatives of the Department may issue temporary credentials with or without examination upon finding that this action will be in the public interest. Temporary credentials shall be valid for a period not exceeding 90 days.

(f) The Department may deny, suspend, amend, or revoke the credentials of an emergency medical responder, emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician, paramedic, emergency medical dispatcher, or emergency medical services instructor in any case in which the Department finds that there has been a substantial failure to comply with the provisions of this Article or the rules issued under this Article. Prior to implementation of any of the above disciplinary actions, the Department shall consider the recommendations of the EMS Disciplinary Committee pursuant to G.S. 143-519. The Department's decision to deny, suspend, amend, or revoke credentials may be appealed by the applicant or credentialed personnel pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, the Administrative Procedure Act.

(g) An individual who applies for EMS credentials, seeks to renew EMS credentials, or holds EMS credentials is subject to a criminal background review by the Department. At the request of the Department, the Emergency Medical Services Disciplinary Committee, established by G.S. 143-519, shall review criminal background information and make a recommendation regarding the eligibility of an individual to obtain initial EMS credentials, renew EMS credentials, or maintain EMS credentials. The Department and the Emergency Medical Services Disciplinary Committee shall keep all information obtained pursuant to this subsection confidential. The Medical Care Commission shall adopt rules to implement the provisions of this subsection, including rules to establish a reasonable fee to offset the actual costs of criminal history information obtained pursuant to G.S. 143B-952.

(h) A person who is required to register as a sex offender under Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, or who was convicted of an offense which would have required registration if committed at a time when such registration would have been required by law, shall not be granted EMS credentials. The Department shall not renew the credentials of any person who would be ineligible for EMS credentials under this subsection. (1967, c. 343, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 725; c. 1224, s. 1; 1975, c. 612; 1983, c. 775, s. 1; 1987, c. 495, s. 2; 1993, c. 135, s. 1; 1997-443, ss. 11A.118(a), 11A.129E; 2001-210, s. 1; 2003-392, s. 2(b); 2007-411, s. 1; 2011-37, s. 1; 2014-100, s. 17.1(hhh); 2015-290, s. 3.)

 

131E-160. Exemptions.

All of the following vehicles are exempt from the provisions of this Article:

(1) Privately owned vehicles not used in the business of transporting patients.

(2) A vehicle rendering service as an ambulance in case of a major catastrophe or emergency, when the permitted ambulances based in the locality of the catastrophe or emergency are insufficient to render the services required.

(3) Any ambulance based outside this State, except that an ambulance which receives a patient within this State for transportation to a location within this State shall comply with the provisions of this Article.

(4) Ambulances owned and operated by an agency of the United States government.

(5) Vehicles owned and operated by rescue squads chartered by the State of North Carolina as nonprofit corporations or associations which are not regularly used to transport sick, injured, wounded or otherwise incapacitated or helpless persons except as a part of rescue operations. (1967, c. 343, s. 3; c. 1257, s. 2; 1983, c. 775, s. 1; 2001-210, s. 1.)

 

131E-161. Violation declared misdemeanor.

It shall be the responsibility of the EMS provider to ensure that the ambulance operation complies with the provisions of this Article and all rules adopted for this Article. Upon the violation of any part of this Article or any rule adopted under authority of this Article, the Department shall have the power to deny, revoke, or suspend the permits of all vehicles owned or operated by the violator. The operation of an ambulance without a valid permit or after a permit has been denied, suspended, or revoked or without appropriate credentialed staffing as required by G.S. 131E-158, shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1967, c. 343, s. 3; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1983, c. 775, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 964; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1997-443, s. 11A.129F; 2001-210, s. 1.)