June 2, 2015

CONTACT: Rep. Todd Novak 608.266.7502


Rep. Novak Addresses Growing Concern of Emergency Services in Lafayette County
Testifies on Bill to Deliver Timely, Emergency Response across State Lines

MADISON – State Representative Todd Novak (Dodgeville) testified before a joint legislative committee about his bill that would allow for out-of-state ambulance service in portions of Lafayette County. Assembly Bill 249/Senate Bill 182 moves to address a growing concern along the Wisconsin/Illinois state line where ambulance services may be delayed due to complications with interstate ambulance licenses.

“We all know that in medical emergencies, time is of the essence,” said Rep. Novak. “At the request of concerned constituents, I co-authored this bill to make sure that emergency services can be delivered in a timely fashion.”

The issue was first brought to light after the state Department of Health Services determined due to a difference in ambulance licenses in the two states, an ambulance from Illinois couldn’t provide service in Wisconsin – even if it was the closest responding unit.

The consequences of this ruling became all too real when a constituent in the Gratiot and South Wayne area recently had a medical emergency. Both the Warren, IL and Darlington, WI ambulances were dispatched. Within minutes, Warren EMTs arrived on the scene and took steps that ultimately saved the man’s life. Due to the distance they needed to travel, this all occurred before Darlington had arrived at the scene. Doctors said if it weren’t for the fast arrival of Warren responders, the man might not have lived.

Assembly Bill 249/Senate Bill 182 provides a narrow exemption to current requirements and would allow an Illinois ambulance to respond to a Wisconsin medical emergency when practical.

“This bill takes an important step in working to provide timely emergency services for southern Lafayette County,” said Rep.  Novak.  “The health and safety of our communities shouldn’t be jeopardized because of government paperwork.”

Rep. Novak was joined by state Senator Howard Marklein and Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill in testifying before the joint hearing of the state Assembly Committee on Health and the state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. The legislation now requires committee approval before being sent to the Assembly and Senate for a vote.