Shelton legislators help pass bill protecting EMS personnel

A proposal co-sponsored by Shelton state Reps. Jason Perillo and Ben McGorty to protect the health of emergency medical service (EMS) providers has passed both chambers of the legislature.

The legislation increases the number of infectious diseases that hospitals must notify EMS workers they may have been exposed to, according to a press release from the two local Republican lawmakers.

Current law requires hospitals to inform EMS responders, through designated officers, that may have been exposed to infectious pulmonary tuberculosis when treating, assisting, or transporting a victim of an emergency, including victims who die at — or en route to — the hospital.

This bill expands the notification requirement to include numerous other infectious diseases.
HB 5907: An Act Concerning Notification to Emergency Medical Services Organizations Regarding Patients Diagnosed With An Infectious Disease was approved in both the state House and state Senate, and now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for his signature to become law.

Perillo: Can stop spread of diseases

“This goes beyond the simple right-to-know that EMS providers should be entitled to when they administer to care to someone who turns out to be carrying an infectious disease,” said Perillo, a former chief of Shelton’s Echo Hose Ambulance.

“Failing to notify EMS responders that they may have been exposed to these diseases presents the additional risk of spreading them further,” he said. “This notification makes sense for all parties concerned.”

McGorty: ‘Providers deserve to know’

McGorty said EMS personnel “are on the front line of public safety, and they know the risks they take and personal danger they face in serving the public and working to save lives.

“These EMS providers deserve to know when someone they have been exposed to in the course of their service is carrying one of the serious infectious diseases listed in this bill. It is important to their health, their families’ health and the public’s health,” said McGorty, a long-serving Shelton volunteer firefighter.

What diseases are covered

The diseases the bill requires notification for include:

— hepatitis A, B and C


— diphtheria

— novel influenza A virus infections with pandemic potential

— methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

— hemorrhagic fevers

— meningitis

— plague

— rabies

Verbal and written notification

A hospital that diagnoses a patient as having one of these infectious diseases must notify the designated officer of the EMS organization that treated, assisted or transported by verbal communication within 48 hours after the diagnosis, and in writing within 72 hours after the diagnosis.

If a hospital determines a patient who died at — or en route to — the facility had an infectious disease, it must notify the designated officer within 48 hours of this determination.