The House Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday advanced a bill to create a state certification for emergency medical responders (EMRs).

Tom Martinec, deputy secretary of the South Dakota Department of Health, said Senate Bill 48 would add another rung to the emergency medical services (EMS) career ladder with the establishment of EMR certification, requiring 60 hours of training as opposed to 180 hours for emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

EMRs are certified to provide simple, noninvasive care focused on lifesaving interventions for critical patients, rendering on-site emergency care while awaiting additional EMS response from an EMT or higher-level personnel.

The bill now heads to the House floor. Senate Bill 49 was previously passed the Senate, but it will have to be reconciled after the House committee amended the legislation’s sentence establishing that an EMR must function with an EMT or higher level personnel during the transportation of a patient with the phrase “either onsite or remotely.”

Some 30 states including North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska currently certify EMRs. The South Dakota EMS Association, the American Heart Association and local emergency responders testified in support of the bill, which is also supported by SDAHO.