Community paramedicine programs — sometimes known as field emergency medical services (EMS) or mobile integrated health care — expand the role of certified paramedics and allow them to provide non-emergency, preventative health care services to patients in their communities.
The expanded functions of a community paramedic can include providing primary care, chronic disease management, mental health and dental care, according to the American Nurses Association. Customarily, the role of a paramedic is to respond in emergency situations only, but the push for an expanded role is gaining momentum — particularly in rural areas that have fewer traditional health care providers.
Some community paramedic programs operate on a small scale without specific statutory authority. However, a handful of state legislatures (Missouri, Nevada and Washington, for example) have passed laws in recent years to authorize these programs on a statewide level.
An Illinois law that sets guidelines for how police use body cameras and establishes new training and reporting requirements for law enforcement took effect in January. These statutory changes do not require the use of body cameras, but they do establish new statewide protocols. For example, the devices must be turned on at all times when an officer responds to a call or is engaged in other law enforcement activities. (Crime victims or witnesses can ask that the cameras be turned off.) New rules on the disclosure and retention of the cameras’ recordings are also now in place.