Prop 11 - Upending the Economics of Emergency Response

Prop. 11

Welcome back to Propositioned! Hosted by KFI's Kris Ankarlo, this limited series podcast is back to take a look at the 11 different propositions you'll see at the ballot box this November 6! 

Now in its third season, Propositioned is a chance for both sides on each question to make their case to you, the voter. Then you can take that information with you to the voter booth. 

On today's episode, Kris Ankarlo takes a look at both sides of Prop. 11, a ballot proposition that has the potential to upend the economics of emergency response.

Supporters say Prop. 11 would ensure that EMTs and paramedics are paid to be reachable during breaks and would improve training for disasters that meet FEMA standards. 

Opponents say Prop. 11 isn't as straightforward as just paying EMTs on their breaks. 

Get the real story and learn about both sides of the issue in the latest episode of Propositioned!

Proposition 11 was born out of a 2016 California Supreme Court Case that ruled private security guards must be given uninterrupted break times. Because the private ambulance companies and unions couldn't agree on how to comply with that rule and implement it, a ballot measure, Proposition 11 was born. 

If passed, companies like American Medical Response (AMR) would pay EMTs and paramedics to remain on-call during work breaks. 

Former L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency Director Carol Meyers says if Proposition 11 fails, more crews will be required to cover those breaks, that's going to cost taxpayers money one way or another. 

"The private industry has functioned like that for fifty years," Meyers said. "Keep in mind, across the state of California the private sector ambulance companies respond to 75% of the 9-1-1 medical calls."

But Democratic Assemblyman Freddy Rodriguez (D-Pomona), says the real reason for the ballot measure is so one ambulance company can cover their liability. 

"Where are all the other ambulance companies supportive of it? They're not even supporting it. It's just AMR and the California Ambulance Association, and they've already spent $20 million dollars," Rodriguez said. 

If Prop. 11 fails, complying with the 2016 ruling would increase ambulance companies' costs by nearly $100 million every year, according to the California Nonpartisan Legislative Office.

Meyers warns that those extra costs would have to be paid by someone - most likely the taxpayer.

"Then that's gonna be passed on to the public, or it's going to be passed on to the governmental agency that coordinates the system. And if it passes onto the governmental agency, it's going to pass on in taxes," said Meyers. 

Here's what the ballot measure says: 

Law entitling hourly employees to breaks without being on-call would not apply to private-sector ambulance employees. Fiscal Impact: Likely fiscal benefit to local governments (in the form of lower costs and higher revenues), potentially in the tens of millions of dollars each year.

Here's what a YES vote means: 

A YES vote on this measure means: Private ambulance companies could continue their current practice of having emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics stay on-duty during their meal and rest breaks in order to respond to 911 calls. Private ambulance companies would attempt to reschedule meal and rest breaks that are interrupted by a 911 call.

Here's what a NO vote means: 

A NO vote on this measure means: Private ambulance companies would be subject to labor laws for this industry. Based on a recent court decision, these laws likely would require ambulance companies to provide EMTs and paramedics with off-duty meal and rest breaks that cannot be interrupted by a 911 call.

Here are the groups who support Prop. 11

American Medical Response (Private Ambulance transportation company with contracts in several cities and counties throughout the state of California)

Here are the groups who oppose Prop. 11:

California Teachers Association, State Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez (D-52)

Photo: Getty Images

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